Ward Room
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Illinois Same-Sex Marriage Reactions Tell of Joy

A cross-sampling of reaction in Illinois to yesterday’s news.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    In the wake of Wednesday’s historic signing of a law legalizing same-sex marriages in Illinois, many in the state are rejoicing and looking forward to what they see as a new era of equality and acceptance in their state. However, as with any sea change in a law that affects so many on such a personal level, not everyone in Illinois is happy.

    Here’s a look at a cross-sampling of some of the reaction across the state to yesterday’s news.

    Gay Couple of 50 Years: 'We Can Finally Be Newlyweds'

    [CHI] Gay Couple of 50 Years: 'We Can Finally Be Newlyweds'
    A veteran and his partner of more than 50 years speak at Illinois' same-sex marriage bill signing. (Published Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013)

    Some of the most heartwarming stories to come out of the Illinois same-sex marriage law are those of men and women in long-term, committed relationships who see themselves and their lives respected as equals in society. The Daily Herald highlighted a number of suburban couples who expressed their joy and relief at the law’s passage:

    When Quinn finally took his seat to sign the bill into law, he did so at a wooden desk used by Abraham Lincoln to pen his first inaugural address.

    [Geri] Winters and [Donna] Corpolongo kissed.

    "It's a pinch-me moment," Winters said. "We're recognized. It's real now."

    Bishop Holds Same-Sex Marriage Exorcism

    [CHI] Bishop Holds Same-Sex Marriage Exorcism
    Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki goes through with his promise to hold an exorcism on the same day same-sex marriage was signed into law in Illinois. (Published Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013)

    Alex Keefe of WBEZ found some folks who had been around long enough to remember what it was like to have to hide in the shadows just to be able to express who they were and loved:

    When Bill Kelley first moved here from Missouri as a teenager in 1959, Illinois was a very different place for gay men such as him. Gay sex then was illegal, though Illinois three years later would become the first state to repeal its sodomy laws.

    Rahm: "There Is No Straight or Gay Marriage"

    [CHI] Rahm: "There Is No Straight or Gay Marriage"
    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at Illinois' same-sex marriage bill signing. (Published Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013)

    Chen Ooi, Kelley’s partner of 34 years, was more emotional in describing his reaction to the breakthrough on gay marriage. The 61-year-old choked back tears when he recalled how he felt when he learned the bill was approved by the legislature earlier this month, after many fits and starts.

    Not everyone was happy with Wednesday’s events, of course. CBS St. Louis reported on conservative and faith-based groups are concerned about what they see as a lack of religious protections in the new law:

    “For a church, the law expressly states that a minister does not have to solemnize a same-sex wedding or use his church facility for such a ceremony,” Peter Breen, an attorney with the Chicago-based socially conservative legal group the Thomas More Society, explains.

    [But] nowhere, Breen says, are there safeguards for other religious organizations, religious non-profits, or individuals – like pastry chefs, florists and photographers – who might not want to participate in a gay couple’s wedding activities.

    Some in Illinois think the matter goes beyond such niceties as legal protections. America Needs Fatima, a conservative Catholic arm of the right-wing organization American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, wrote a blog post linking Illinois tornadoes to the passing of the bill:

    The massive tornadoes that hit Illinois after the passing of the same sex “marriage” bill,  has stimulated many people to reflection.

    In it, some see  God’s chastisement; others see it as yet one more merciful warning from Providence; others yet deny both options and give various reasons.

    But for the most part, such opposition seems few, and scattered. In fact, Zack Ford at ThinkProgress found a single, lonely voice dissenting outside of yesterday’s signing ceremony:

    Peter LaBarbera, president of the anti-gay hate group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, stood alone outside the signing ceremony protesting.