- Fired Yahoo exec’s $60 million golden parachute may be a record
- Arkansas gynecologist snapped nude photos of patients, police say
- Anthony Weiner on his current sexting habits: ‘None of your business’
- Producers eye Capitol Hill for latest reality TV hit
- No selfie awareness: Obama, Biden mug for Instagram as Ukraine implodes
- Putin to Snowden: We don’t collect droves of data on everyone like the U.S.
- Clemson football’s new opponent: Atheists upset with player prayer, Bible study
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s re-election launch party will be ‘history in the making,’ brother says
- Louisiana group hits back at Sen. Mary Landrieu campaign ad with ‘Actress Mary’ spot
- Brain surgery victim struggles with Obamacare: ‘It’s scary’
Illinois lawmakers vow to revive bill allowing gay marriage
Measure could return during ‘veto session’
Although Illinois lawmakers failed Friday night to approve a bill to make it the 13th state to perform gay marriages, legislative leaders pledged to bring it back for passage with some holding out hope that it could before the end of the summer.
Several colleagues said “they could not cast a vote on this bill today,” Mr. Harris said tearfully, not long before the chamber adjourned.
“I have never been sadder to accept such a request,” he said, but they asked for time to go back to their districts, talk to constituents and return in November to support the bill.
“We will be back, and we will be voting on this bill, in this legislature,” Mr. Harris said.
Friday was the last day when the gay-marriage bill could be passed in the regular session. The measure can be revived in November in what as known as a “veto session,” but 71 House votes would be needed to pass a bill in that session.
There is also the possibility that if Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn calls lawmakers back for a special legislative session in the summer to address pension reform, which also was left without resolution Friday, he could include the gay-marriage bill.
On Friday night, before the House adjourned, House Speaker Michael Madigan took the step of extending the bill’s deadline date for approval until Aug. 31, according to the Illinois Observer online newspaper. This keeps the gay marriage bill alive, but also likely requires more legislative steps, including a concurrence from the Illinois Senate, the political website said.
But even the bill’s failure to pass was a stunning turn of events.
“In a liberal state like Illinois, this is a truly remarkable victory,” said Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute, one of the groups that opposed the “genderless marriage” bill.
“Today our Lord and savior Jesus Christ has won! Pastor James Meeks, Bishop Lance Davis and I are so proud of the God-fearing Black Caucus members who withstood the pressure of the [lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender] forces and allowed God’s word concerning marriage to remain between one man and one woman in Illinois,” said Bishop Larry D. Trotter, co-chairman of the African American Clergy Coalition.
But gay marriage supporters were outraged.
Bernard Cherkasov, chief executive of Equality Illinois, called the turn of events “disgraceful,” but took heart that three other states — Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota — moved gay marriage through their chambers this year. “This proves that our country is moving toward the right side of history, and quickly,” he said.
“Make no mistake, we will fight and make our case until all Illinois families have the freedom to marry the person they love, and until the legislative vote reflects the solid majority of Illinoisans and Americans who stand for treating their neighbors the way they want to be treated,” said Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry.
Other gay-marriage supporters noted that other legislatures, including Maryland’s, had punted before they finally passed the law legalizing gay marriage.
The Illinois gay-marriage bill had sailed through the state Senate on Valentine’s Day, and it was expected to do the same in the Illinois House.
State political figures, including Mr. Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, both Democrats, and now-former Republican Party chairman Pat Brady, urged support for gay marriage.
Even President Obama made a personal push for the bill while at a Chicago fundraiser: “I wrestled with this for a long time,” Mr. Obama said Wednesday, “and I am absolutely convinced it is the right thing to do.”
But the African American Clergy Coalition, which was aligned with Catholic and other religious and traditional-values groups, stood against the bill. Chicago pastors in particular warned lawmakers that they would not be invited to speak in their churches if they failed to protect the biblical view of marriage.
In addition, the Thomas More Society advised lawmakers that their gay marriage bill had “the worst religious liberty protection of any same-sex marriage bill in the country.” Opponents also criticized Illinois politicians for appearing to be attempting to bribe lawmakers who were refusing to vote for it.
After the legislative session ended, the black pastors praised lawmakers for standing for traditional marriage “despite threats of political retaliation and mass criticism.”
“While today’s victory is historic, the real fight continues tomorrow morning. Collectively, the black church must continue to defend the word of God by speaking boldly of our beliefs, our convictions and our faith,” said Bishop Lance Davis, co-chairman of the African American Clergy Coalition.’
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.
Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
- Judge voids N. Dakota's 'heartbeat' abortion law
- Family, agency in custody battle over sick daughter
- Values group wins court round over use of gay marriage photo
- Gay-photo lawsuit partially dismissed
- Some gay activists fear same-sex supporters are becoming intolerant
Latest Blog Entries
- Gay therapy ban author seeks Calif. House seat
- Transgender 'bathroom law' gets 5,000 more signatures
- Pro-life, stem-cell bill signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
- N. Dakota lawmakers approve tough abortion bill
- Pope Benedict XVI's successor should allow priests to get a new title: Husband, poll finds
TWT Video Picks
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Joe Biden's first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch wrecked by retreating feds
- CURL: The state of the Union worse than you thought
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- PETA officials collide with deer
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.