In remarks Thursday, he called for the Illinois House of Representatives to follow the state Senate’s lead and enact marriage equality. Quinn, who endorsed same-sex marriage last May, has been personally lobbying undecided legislators and says supporters are close to the required 60 votes. After months of delays, Quinn says it is now “time to vote.” He told reporters “it’s important that Illinois and the House of Representatives get moving… I believe a majority exists to get this bill passed through the House onto my desk so I can sign it into law.”
Since Illinois started the process, two other states have crossed the finish line, and Minnesota is very close, Time to get this think passed in Illinois, too – what are they waiting for?
Minnesota’s House just passed the marriage equality bill in a stunning 75-59 vote Thursday. The Fix has a fascinating interview with House Speaker Paul Thissen (D) about the days leading up to the vote:
FIX: Walk me through your Thursday. When did you figure out you had the votes to win passage?
PT: We felt we had the votes to pass on Tuesday when we called the vote. And I’ve got to say, it was a much more emotional debate for me than I thought was going to be. It was a pretty powerful three hours.
FIX: What made it an emotional debate?
PT: A couple things. A lot of the speeches people made. It was a very serious and respectful debate befitting the gravity of the topic. But also, just all the faces in the crowd, and just thinking how this is going to really change the lives of so many people in Minnesota and seeing them in the Capitol as we were taking up this vote. Those two things together.
FIX: Did you know that you were going to get some Republican support when you called this vote? (Four Republicans voted for it.)
PT: No. I did not. I had an inkling we might, but we didn’t call the vote until we knew we had the votes on our side.
Read the rest of the interview at the link above.
And over at Pink News, they’re reporting that one lawmaker was moved to tears at the thought that she wouldn’t be able to discriminate against gays anymore:
“My heart breaks for Minnesota,” said a Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover. “It’s a divisive issue that divides our state,” she said, wiping tears from her eyes as she stood on the House floor after the vote. “It’s not what we needed to be doing at this time. We want to come together for the state of Minnesota, we don’t want to divide it.”
Because it’s so divisive and unnecessary to give gay and lesbian couples equal marriage rights?
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The Senate Judiciary Committee begins consideration of the Gang of 8′s Immigration Reform Bill today. C-SPAN’s coverage should be must-see-TV for an audience of one: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Among the potentially contentious issues facing the committee is the inclusion of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). Under current law, special immigration provisions available to the spouses of U.S. citizens are not available to LGBT Americans. Originally drafted to get around the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), UAFA would give equal immigration access to LGBT couples in state-recognized relationships, be they marriages, civil unions or domestic partnerships.
The need to even discuss UAFA should make one thing clear to Kennedy as he considers his decision on DOMA and Proposition 8: moving slowly on marriage equality is more a step toward chaos than justice.
Until same-sex marriage is a reality nationwide, changes in the tax code, military benefits and more than 1,000 other federal rules we learned about in the DOMA debate could all require a UAFA-esque patch to deal with same-sex relationships. Every time that patch could be used to hold a bill hostage, despite Chief Justice Roberts’ rosy assessment of the political power of the LGBT community. Every time the patch fails, the status of same-sex couples and straight couples becomes more separated and less equal.
First off, Lord Carey is accusing the government of sidelining and marginalizing opponents of marriage equality and minority ethnic communities:
Lord George Carey of Clifton told the House of Lords yesterday that the Government has painted opponents of marriage equality as a “strange breed of non-relevant dinosaurs” while ignoring minority ethnic and religious communities. Following comments by Lord Fowler on the recent Queen’s Speech, Lord Carey said the Conservative’s push for same-sex marriage had helped create a “broken society”, rather than their intended “big society”.
Another marriage equality opponent, Baroness O’Cathain, once the government to admit that marriage equality is a “mistake”:
I believe that it is a deeply flawed Bill and a deeply concerning attack on the values of great swathes of the population. Where is the pressure coming from? Are the Government taking any notice of the widespread antipathy to the redefinition of marriage? It is a wrong Bill, and it beggars belief that the Government have wantonly decided to push it through at any time, let alone when we are in such a parlous state. Marriage must be supported and valued, not dismantled. For the sake of the future of marriage in this country, I urge the Government to admit graciously that this has been a great mistake and drop the Bill.
Perhaps the original mistake was to only grant gay lesbian couples civil partnerships, a second-class status that tells everyone that game lesbian couples are not “as good as” everyone else. The real mistake would be to backtrack now.
On the flipside, Lord Norman Fowler makes the argument for the marriage equality bill:
Suffice it to say at this stage that my personal view is that Parliament should value people equally in the law, and that enabling same-sex couples to marry removes the current inequity. A legal partnership is not seen in the same way and does not have the same promises of responsibility and commitment as marriage. There are many same-sex couples, including those working in the churches, who view marriage as fundamentally important and want to enter into that life-long commitment. It is therefore Parliament’s duty to enable that to happen, and in so doing strengthen the society in which we live today.
Lord Fowler goes on to say:
An opinion poll in this country suggested that many Christians in Britain believed that they were a persecuted minority. I can only say that if anyone wants to see a persecuted minority they should look at the plight of gay, lesbian and transgender people around the world. As you travel you go to countries where homosexuality is a criminal offence and where people who are suspected of being homosexual are persecuted and even forced to leave their family homes. In one country a newspaper was dedicated to exposing homosexuals–to identifying them, photographing them and publishing their addresses–so that the local population could take action against them. In one case, this led to a murder.
I have rarely seen this point so eloquently made.
One more – former police Chief Constable Lord Dear told the House of Lords that marriage equality will create a backlash against gays and lesbians:
But I sincerely believe that the passage of this Bill into law will, in turn, create such opposition to homosexuals in general that the climate of tolerance and acceptance in this country that we have all championed and supported and seen flourish over recent years could well be set back by decades. The noble Lord, Lord Fowler, who is not in his place, spoke eloquently and, indeed, spread his wings on the subject of what is going on in Uganda. None of us would want to see anything like that in this country; the last time that sort of behaviour occurred was several centuries ago. I ask the noble Lord and others to reflect on the fact that this Bill is not so much about equality as sameness. I leave those two words with your Lordships.
In other words, gays and lesbians should just sit down and shut up and be happy with the tolerance they have been given.