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Ward Room Blogger Edward McClelland often uses satire in this space. This is one of those times. Please read it with satire in mind.
In response to the gay marriage bill introduced Wednesday by three Chicago legislators, a pair of Downstate representatives are pushing their own marriage equality bill.
State Rep. Roger Eddy, R-Hutsonville, and state Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, have introduced the Lonesome No More Act, which would guarantee the right to marry to Illinoisans who are unemployed, obese or have terrible personal hygiene.
“Marriage in this country is in crisis,” Phelps said at a state capitol news conference this morning. “Fifty years, almost every American, no matter how poor, hideous or unwashed, was able to find a spouse. Today, marriage has become an elite institution, available only to those with the financial resources to maintain a household. The American Dream of marriage has been disappearing as quickly as the American Dream of a steady, well-paying job.”
Eddy cited this statistic: in 1960, only 5 percent of births were to unwed mothers. Now, he said, the figure is over 40 percent.
“It used to be, if a young man got a girl pregnant, he married her, no matter what she looked like or what kind of job she had,” Eddy said. “And if he hesitated, why, her old man went and got the shotgun. If a girl was good enough to fool around with, she was good enough to marry. Now, you hear young couples say they’re going to wait until they get a good job. Well, nowadays, in my district, you can wait until you’re dead and not get a good job.”
Phelps said he sympathizes with everyone’s desire to marry, but pointed out that not everyone in Illinois has the same advantages as gays and lesbians living on the North Side of Chicago.
“The average household income of a gay couple is $85,000 a year,” Phelps said. “The average household income in Gays, Illinois, is $41,000 a year. I’ve been to Lake View. It’s a wonderful neighborhood with easy access to public transportation, health clubs, employment opportunities and hair salons. It’s easy to be rich and good looking in Lake View. It’s not as easy in Harrisburg or Cairo, but people there deserve a chance to get married, too.”
Sponsors of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act condemned Eddy’s and Phelps’s bill as a “diversion” that “trivializes the importance of gay marriage.”
“We believe everyone should have the opportunity to marry,” said Rep. Deb Mell, D-Chicago. “We don’t believe everyone should be guaranteed a spouse. This bill will just tell people it’s OK to quit their jobs, let themselves go and stop bathing. And seriously, who wants to wake up next to someone like that?”