The civil unions bill passed the General Assembly last week, and Gov. Pat Quinn has promised to sign it into law in January.
But James Meeks, the only Senate Democrat to vote against the bill, won’t let the issue go. In a Sunday interview on WMBI, the radio station of the Moody Bible Institute, Meeks said churches in Illinois are “under condemnation” for not working harder to stop the bill.
According to an Associated Press story, “Meeks told WMBI radio that the church failed to be the ‘salt and light’ that Jesus commissioned to preserve and enlighten society. The politician-pastor says that’s what he hopes to do if Chicagoans elect him mayor next year.”
It’s not fair to say the churches didn’t work hard to stop civil unions. The bishop of Springfield, Thomas Paprocki, went so far as to tell Gov. Pat Quinn that he was violating his Catholic faith by supporting the bill.
Of course, any hopes the gay community had for a rapprochement with Meeks was dashed by last week's vote. A week ago, Equality Illinois executive director Rick Garcia said he was hopeful for the support of Meeks, who told him that “I haven’t said yes and I haven’t said no” to civil unions.
Now, Meeks has not only said no to civil unions, he’s attacked the process by which they were approved. After the vote, he told reporters that a measure this momentous should have been subject to a statewide referendum.
Meeks may have thought he was speaking only to his fellow evangelicals on WMBI, but when you’re a candidate for mayor, the entire city listens to what you say. Meeks was on the losing end of the civil unions vote. He needs to move on and talk about issues he can do something about as mayor.