ELECTION COUNTDOWN

Chicago Pol’s Continuing “Evolution” On Gay Marriage Is Pissing Off Windy City Queers

Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL) thought she’d borrow a page from President Obama and explain she “grapples” with same-sex marriage.

The problem is, the President moved beyond that point—coming out in favor of marriage equality—and Biggert, a Republican, hasn’t.

And Chicago’s LGBT community is upset Biggert, 75, accepted a $500,000 donation from American Unity PAC, founded by hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer to push for marriage equality, but is still skittish.

In a press conference after a debate with Democratic opponent Bill Foster, Biggert said she was still on the fence about gay marriage—then compared it to bigamy and polygamy.

“Let’s wait and see what the courts have to say. It is a state issue—we don’t have polygamy and bigamy and all of these things in the federal government. It’s the states that take care of that, and I’ve worked in this realm with the estate planning.”

But Biggert said she understood the sting of discrimination:

“I was discriminated against when I went to law school. I was told I was taking the place of someone who belonged there—a man. From that point, I don’t want to see discrimination against anyone.”

After initially opposing same-sex marriage, Foster has come around to our side. About Biggert, he told the Tribune:

“She has not yet evolved. So, she’s crawling out of the swamp or something… I’m all dry, fluffed off and happy to be a hominid.”

On Friday, Biggert’s campaign issued a statement:

“Like many Americans, the Congresswoman grapples with the idea of marriage for same-sex couples. The point she was making in the debate is that states – not the federal government – give out marriage licenses and make the determination about parameters for marriage, like they do for example in terms of age.

The reference to polygamy and bigamy were in that context and she certainly did not mean to make a comparison between that and loving same-sex couples. She remains committed to the LGBT community and opposes efforts to write discrimination into the Constitution to take rights away from people.”

Oh well that makes it so much better!

Biggert’s not an archenemy—she received a 70 on HRC’s Congressional Score Card, supports ENDA and voted to give benefits to partners of LGBT federal employees.

But the reality is, once upon a time even well-meaning people could dodge supporting full marriage equality for gays and lesbians. No major one was really endorsing it, and it wasn’t a litmus test. You could just announce you’re “grappling” or “evolving”—when what you really meants was, “Ask me again when the zeitgest has shifted.”

Well it’s happened—it is happening—and now sitting on the fence can feel like worse than standing against us.