Speaker: Illinois Marriage Equality Bill 12 Votes Shy Of Passage

marriage rally illinoisMichael Madigan, Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, says a current marriage-equality bill is a dozen votes short of passage.

With 60 votes needed to pass the measure, the good news is that means there are already 48 lawmakers on board.

And actually, Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), who is sponsoring the bill, says he thinks it’s a bit closer than 12 votes.”I have not spoken to the speaker so I don’t know what assumptions he’s using,” Harris told the Chicago Tribune. “But when we put it up on the board, we’re going to have 60 votes and it’s going to pass because this is what the majority of people in the state of Illinois believe is the right thing to do.”

The bill passed the state Senate in February and Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, said he’d sign it.


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  • Derek Williams

    Having this scrape through narrowly is not the best outcome. Better to keep activist troops on the ground winning the Hearts and Minds, until there is irrefragable public support for Equality.

  • FStratford

    OK so which cngressmen and which friends from which districts should we be lobbying?

    If Illinois goes our way, the treat in Iowa will go away. And MN will follow.

  • John Doe

    For all those who think that the Democrats are the saviors of the world…. and that only Republicans are bigots:

    60 votes are needed for passage….. and there are 71 Democrats in the Illinois House. Only 47 Republicans.

    If only 48 Representatives are on board…. that means over 20 Democrats do not currently favor marriage equality for gays and lesbians.


    So close! Hopefully my state will go for full equality.

    “that means over 20 Democrats do not currently favor marriage equality for gays and lesbians”-This is true as well. The Democrats are not as “monolithic” in the way they vote like the Republican Party usually is.

  • erikwm

    @Derek Williams: That makes no sense. Why should we set the bar higher for ourselves? Here in Maryland, marriage equality passed narrowly in the state legislature and then narrowly in the referendum last November.

    Should we have waited until it could pass the state house by 10 or 20 votes and garner greater than 60% in a referendum? What for? It’s settled now. We won. All you need is a majority.

  • Derek Williams

    @erikwm: It’s a matter of enforcing unpopular legislation. DADT will never be reinstated because by the time it was repealed, over 75% of the people were in favour of repeal, mirrored in the military survey, Congress, the Senate and the President’s own backing.

    If something just scrapes through, enforcement becomes problematic, which paradoxically was what led to homosexuality itself becoming legal. The level of civil disobedience was so high, it was neither practicable nor in the interests of the state to imprison homosexuals merely for having a relationship that was not a clear and present, or future danger to society.

    You can’t eliminate prejudice by flashing a wand. It takes hard work and openness to bring people onside. This takes longer, but public education is essential.

  • erikwm

    @Derek Williams: Democrats control the legislative process in Maryland, ditto for Illinois. To reverse marriage equality in either of those states, the Republicans would need to gain control of the state house, the state senate, AND the governorship. Absent a deadly pandemic that kills a large percentage of the population in either state, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

    As to enforcement, it’s really quite simple. Here in Maryland, the Attorney General has notified state employees tasked with issuing marriage licenses that they will be fired if they refuse to issue licenses to gay or lesbian couples. There are a lot of unemployed people in the state. If someone doesn’t want to do their job, somebody else will. I have not heard of any problems thus far.

    The state has also legislated that any business that provides public accommodations or services can not discriminate against gays or lesbians. This did cause one trolley service in Annapolis, who did not want to serve gay or lesbians couples, to announce they will no longer offer wedding parties to avoid getting sued. However, a rival trolley service said they would expand to fill the void in the market. Bottom line — if you don’t want to make money, you don’t have to.

    Look, politics is not for the weak willed. If you want everyone to sing Kumbaya and hold hands, you should find a different interest. We’re not waiting for a super majority.

  • Derek Williams

    @erikwm: Campaigning for consensus is not “weak willed”, it is common sense and ensures longevity of social change. DADT is a clear example of the benefits of using democratic process to engage the people with the health and monetary consequences of unfair dealings with people. Nothing to do with Kumbaya and hand holding.

    Forcing things on the general population and sacking people who don’t comply is potentially inflammatory and can lead to civil disobedience and non-compliance unless there is clear perception by the public the mood is in our favour. If you believe a handful of politicians can do a quick fix, and it doesn’t matter if the public still hate us, and will do everything in their power to obstruct progress, then you’re naive.

    People who were against votes for women didn’t hate women enough to kill them if they got equal rights, but there is no shortage of thugs willing to bash, disenfranchise and kill homosexuals.

    The fight is not over just because enabling legislation is passed.

  • FStratford

    @Derek Williams:

    you still don’t make sense… these thugs that you speak of are going to be thugs no matter what. you seem to assume that they will be less violent to gays if the law is not passed. Wrong. You only have to look at the news to prove that you are wrong on that count.

    The important thing is we have the law on our side, narrowly passed or not.

    Without the law on our side, these thugs are more powerful than they should be.

    So to paraphrase the other poster, why the heck should I delay a law that protects me from thugs when I can have one now? Why do I have to be servile until a supermajority wants me to have rights? You dont make sense at all.

  • Derek Williams

    @FStratford: I do not assume people violent to gays will be more or less violent if a law is or is not passed, what I say is that public education, coming out, integrating with the community have to take place alongside law reform. A law that squeaks through with 51% means we have 49% opposed to us. Not good enough.

    The law only protects you if those enforcing it believe in it. Take the former Soviet Union as an example. Ask anyone who reported an anti-gay crime of violence to police in Russia and whether they got the slightest interest out of them to investigate, and you’ll find the police actually congratulating and cheering on those who attack gays. You can attack gays with impunity in Russia, even though the law prohibits it. If the victim is not satisfied and goes to the media, the Russian media are not supportive. It’s even worse in African and Arabic countries.

    Passing a law by and of itself doesn’t change the hearts and minds. Grass roots activism is called for. “The price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance.”

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