The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. Many in Chicago's gay community say they hope the ruling will give a bill to legalize same sex marriage in Illinois some momentum. Charlie Wojciechowski reports.
Reactions rolled in quickly from state lawmakers, activist groups and key participants after a divided Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional.
Here's what Illinois is saying about the decision, weeks after state legislators failed to bring the gay marriage bill to a vote in the Illinois House.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
“The Supreme Court’s decision today is a major step forward in the ongoing fight to ensure that government won’t discriminate and will treat all love equally. This decision should strengthen our commitment in the State of Illinois toward ensuring that the life-long commitments of all Americans are honored and respected by the law. The state should not be standing in the way of two people loving each other. America has faced obstacles on our journey to equality before and we have always overcome them. The struggle for marriage equality will be no different.”
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn
“Members of the Illinois House now have more than 1,100 new reasons to make marriage equality the law in Illinois. This is a monumental day for freedom in the history of our nation. The opportunity to guarantee equal rights and benefits to all citizens - under both state and federal law - is one we must seize here in the Land of Lincoln without delay. Now is the time for all to put differences aside, band together and redouble our efforts to make it happen."
African American Clergy Coalition
"The African American Clergy Coalition is continuing its fight against the pending same sex marriage legislation here in Illinois. ... The People of the State of Illinois, along with 38 other States, still have the right to determine if Gay Marriage should become law in their respective states. God created marriage to be between one man and one woman. Those of us who are believers will continue to fight for and defend God's Holy Word."
Rep. Greg Harris
"DOMA is struck down for depriving all families of equal respect, dignity and protection. The Supreme Court said that it is the State's decision to give all persons a dignity and status of immense import. I hope my colleagues in the House will join us in acting soon to affirm that dignity, respect and protection for all Illinois families."
Rep. Tammy Duckworth
"Today’s ruling is another important step to make sure that all Americans are treated equally. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was inherently unfair and this is a major step forward for our country. The LGBT community is entitled to the same rights afforded to everyone else and our nation will not reach its full potential until all Americans are given the opportunity to marry the individual they love."
Rep. Bill Foster
“My father was a civil rights lawyer, and I was raised with a strong belief that all people deserve equal rights and protection under the law. That is why I am pleased to see that the Supreme Court has upheld the ideals of our Constitution and struck down DOMA. While this is truly a historic day for members of the LGBT community across the country, we must continue to do everything possible to ensure equal rights for all of our citizens. I will continue to stand with the LGBT community in their struggle for equality, because everyone -- no matter who they are, where they came from, or who they love – deserve equal rights under the law.”
Sen. Kwame Raoul
"I wholeheartedly applaud this decision. But it does not absolve Illinois lawmakers of responsibility; our work has just begun. Because same-sex couples in this state may enter into civil unions but not marriages, the federal rights and responsibilities of marriage do not apply to them – even after today’s ruling. It is now more critical than ever that the House pass the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, as the Senate did in February, so the commitments same-sex couples make to each other are recognized as marriages under both state and federal law."
Illinois Family Institute
"The U.S. Supreme Court, our federal and state governments should work to preserve the marriage laws in Proposition 8 and DOMA -- not undermine them. It's abundantly clear they don't understand the unique purpose and nature of marriage."
Rep. Jan Schakowsky
“I am overjoyed that today the Supreme Court found the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. The majority held that Section 3 of DOMA deprived same-sex couples of equal protection under the law. This decision makes clear that same-sex couples can no longer be denied the over 1,000 federal rights and benefits that traditionally married couples enjoy. "
Cardinal Francis George
"This morning, in the guise of technical legal language, the United States Supreme Court advanced the project of making marriage in the United States a genderless institution. Since women and men are not interchangeable, the Court’s action is illogical and pretentious. The Court abuses its own authority when it permits civil law to alter the definition of marriage, which is a natural institution. What is truly at stake in these decisions is not the right of adults to love whom they please, but rather the right of children to have both a mother and a father.
Today’s decisions also bring us one step closer to the day when those who continue to distinguish between genuine marital unions and same-sex arrangements will be regarded as “bigots.” We have already seen the negative result of gender-free unions on Catholic social services here in Illinois and other states.
We can all be grateful that the Court did not create a new 'right' to same-sex marriage, allowing Illinois and other states to continue to acknowledge in law what nature and nature’s God already tell us: that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for the sake of family."