Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Gay Marriage Legal In Romney's Home State, But Not Obama's

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Mitt Romney's home state does support gay marriage. Barack Obama's home state does not.

    Well, this makes no sense. Barack Obama came out in favor of gay marriage on Wednesday, but his home state does not allow it. Mitt Romney responded by coming out against gay marriage, but his home does. 

    Massachusetts became the first state in the U.S. to issue marriage licenses to gay couples in 2004, while Romney was governor. Romney actually sped the process along by ordering town clerks to comply with Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling declaring the state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. 

    At the same time, Obama was running for the U.S. Senate here in Illinois. During the campaign, he told the Windy City Times that he was in favor of civil unions, but hesitant about gay marriage: “I think that marriage, in the minds of a lot of voters, has a religious connotation,” he said. 

    Now, the tables have turned. In an e-mail to supporters, Obama declared “my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry” and wrote, “where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.”

    That sounds like an encouragement to legislatures to pass gay marriage bills. He wants to leave the decision on gay marriage up to the states, but he’s saying that if he were still an Illinois state senator, he’d vote for a gay marriage bill. 

    Obama’s statement should be a signal to the General Assembly to take up HB5170, a gay marriage bill introduced in March by Reps. Greg Harris, Kelly Cassidy and Deb Mell, the three openly homosexual members of the House. It is currently languishing in the House Rules Committee. The feeling seems to be that since Illinois passed a civil unions bill last year, it’s too soon to take the final step, and approve gay marriage. 

    Obama may not have been ready to endorse gay marriage, either, but he was forced to take a stand after Vice President Joe Biden came out in favor of it. Sometimes, history won’t let you wait. 

    Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!