Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Opinion: Pass Gay Marriage and Get It Out of the Way

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Opinion: Pass Gay Marriage and Get It Out of the Way

Getty Images

Same-sex couple could have a chance to marry in Illinois if the legislature takes advantage of popular sentiment and a Democratic super majority to pass it.

Gay. Gay Gay Gay Gay Gay Gay. GAY! Gaygaygay. 

You’re going to be hearing that word a lot more in the next few months. The Associated Press is speculating that Illinois may be the next state to allow same-sex marriage -- possibly as early as January, before the end of the current legislative session. 
 
Emboldened by recent victories at the polls and what they see as rapidly shifting attitudes in favor of gay rights, supporters say Illinois is ready to become the next state to allow same-sex marriage – though they acknowledge it won’t be easy, even with Democratic majorities in Springfield.

Voters in four states either supported gay marriage or opposed a ban on it on Election Day – a sweep that state Rep. Greg Harris, the prime sponsor of a bill introduced in the Illinois House, said represents “a sea change” in public opinion. Those results, along with recent polling that shows support among an increasing number of Illinois voters, has Harris and other advocates counting votes and trying to determine not if legislation could get passed, but how soon.
 
Gay marriage is inevitable in the liberal, urban state of Illinois. In an exit poll of 1,011 voters on Election Day, more than half said the state should recognize same-sex marriages. So we may as well pass it sooner rather than later. That would take it off the table as a political issue, and allow our politicians to concentrate on pension reform and the budget gap.
 
A gay marriage law would actually help Republicans more than Democrats. If itis still illegal in 2014, no Republican will be able to get out of the primary without promising to veto a gay marriage bill -- which will make him look like the Return of the Bradysaurus to the state’s tolerant electorate. Before November, gay marriage had been defeated in 32 statewide referendums. But Harris noted, we’ve reached a tipping point -- at least in the blue states -- at which opposition to gay marriage is a political loser. But it’s not an issue we want to be talking about during our next governor’s race. And it’s time that gays and lesbian are simply ordinary citizens, rather than the objects of political crusades, from the right and the left.

 

This month, Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland’s Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President will be available on Kindle for $9.99. Tracing Obama’s career in Chicago from his arrival as a community organizer to his election to the U.S. Senate, Young Mr. Obama tells the story of how a callow, presumptuous young man became a master politician, and of why only Chicago could have produced our first black president.

Related Topics Pat Quinn, Michael Madigan
Leave Comments