The two most controversial bills in front of the General Assembly comprise one that would allow the carrying of concealed weapons in Illinois, and another that would allow gays and lesbians to marry their partners.
The first bill has to pass. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that Illinois can’t ban conceal carry. The debate is over how and which places guns will be banned from, and whether local authorities can adopt standards stricter than the state law.
The gay marriage bill has already passed the state senate. It’s going to become law, if not this session, then very soon. Two Republican representatives have already announced their support.
The gun law is beloved by conservatives and loathed by liberals. The gay marriage law is loathed by conservatives and loved by liberals. But each faction will have to learn to live with both, because both are about the expansion of personal freedom.
We live in a time and place of unprecedented personal freedom, and the demand for those freedoms is expanding faster than politicians can keep up with it. Americans want to do what they want to do. We want to have children when we decide it’s time, not when we get pregnant. We want to have sex with whomever we fancy. We want to get high. We want to carry our guns wherever we go. Most of these acts are legal. The ones that aren’t soon will be. They’ll either be legalized by legislators acting under pressure from their constituents, or courts who decide that the Constitution prohibits any government from prohibiting us to do them.
Gun rights and gay rights are both on the legislature’s agenda for the same reason: America is the land of the free. And we don’t like any politicians telling us otherwise.