President Obama’s former Chief of Staff had previously expressed his desire for Illinois to follow in the steps of New York in legalizing same-sex marriage and with the victories in Maryland, Washington and Maine, he thinks that the time is nowish.
But there are a few things he’s got to clear off of his plate first.
“One is retirement security and pension reform. … Two, I was advocating … a casino for Chicago, but one in which … all of the resources will go into building new schools and modernizing our schools. … Third, I will continue to advocate that we also pass marriage equality and end the discrimination on the books,” the mayor said. “Although the state of Illinois now has civil unions, the time for marriage equality is now. The time is right, and the time is here.”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Emanuel plans to cut deals with Democratic legislative leaders now that both houses have “veto-proof Democratic majorities.”
The mayor plans to get “very involved” in passing a gay marriage bill and has been in contact with State Representatives Greg Harris and Deb Mell, who introduced a bill nine months ago that subsequently stalled out in the House Rules Committee. The reps will try to get the bill through legislation again come January during a lame-duck session, though they’re not holding their breaths.
“We’ll try when we have the votes. Hopefully, that will be sooner than later. But, we’re not gonna run a bill if we’re not gonna pass it,” Mell told the Sun-Times. But they have a strong and tenacious ally in Emanuel, who vowed to pressure the Illinois General Assembly into approving gay marriage and extending pension benefits to domestic partners during his mayoral run.
“While Illinois led the way nationwide with civil unions, it is time now that we take the next step, which I said when we had a ceremony in Millennium Park,” Emanuel said. “This is the first step toward marriage equality, and I hope that we will take that step and I will lead an effort.”
While we applaud Rahm Emanuel and his commitment to equality, what’s the deal with the casino? Help out the schools anyway you can, we just hope Rahm doesn’t lose his shirt. Well, actually, since he works out seven days a week, maybe that wouldn’t be the worst thing…