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The temporary stay issued after a federal judge struck down Michigan’s law banning same-sex marriage has been extended until the state completes the appeals process.

That process could take some time. While Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette told the Grand Rapids Press that he hoped the case would be resolved “as quickly as possible,” he has said that he will pursue the appeal all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Some state attorney generals have declined to pursue a defense of same-sex marriage bans. Others have fought against those bans.

But Schuette is in the middle of a re-election campaign and is making his fight against same-sex marriage part of his platform, even writing an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press about it today:

Moreover, Michigan’s voters had a rational basis for their vote: Marriage has been understood to be between one man and one woman by virtually all civilizations throughout the centuries. The notion that marriage would be anything else has only emerged in the last few decades. It is not irrational for voters to support the belief that a mom and a dad are not interchangeable.


But I also know that there is a difference between a buffet and the state’s constitution. This fundamental document is not a cafeteria in which you can pick and choose which measures are enforced and defended.

That is why I am defending Detroit’s cops’ and firefighters’ rights to their pensions, because the Michigan Constitution says pensions shall not be ‘diminished or impaired.’

That is why I went to the United States Supreme Court to defend equal treatment in admissions to our state’s outstanding colleges and universities. Because it is fundamentally wrong to treat people differently based on the color of skin, gender, race or ethnicity.

Yes, he did somehow manage to be against same-sex marriage but for “equal treatment” in the very same letter. Treating someone differently based on the color of skin, gender, race or ethnicity is fundamentally wrong. Treating someone differently on the basis of sexual orientation is rational. Also, something about public safety officials shoehorned in to try to get more votes.

In the meantime, same-sex couples cannot get married in the state, and the 300 or so who managed to get in the seven-hour window before the ruling was stayed still don’t know whether or not their marriages will actually be recognized by the state. They will, at least, be entitled to federal marriage benefits.

There was hope that Gov. Rick Snyder would make a decision whether or not the state would recognize those marriages by now, but he has so far declined to do so. His spokeswoman said he “doesn’t want to get distracted by issues that could divert his attention from jobs and the economy.”

Source: Sara Morrison for The Wire

Utah becomes the 18th state + DC to have marriage equality.

h/t: Huffington Post

h/t: The Grand Island Independent

ALERT: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (SB10) into law, making Illinois the sweet 16th state to pass marriage equality.
The law will take effect on June 1st, 2014 (or sooner).



H/T: Waymon Hudson at Chicago Pride

This is my best day of my life as an Illinoisan. 

This is my best day of my life as an Illinoisan. 

The Cabinet has agreed to hold a referendum on same-sex marriage before the summer of 2015.

At their meeting today, Ministers accepted the recommendation of Minister for JusticeAlan Shatter that they should follow the advice of the Constitutional Referendum and put the issue of same-sex marriage to the people.

It is now expected that same sex marriage and a number of other proposed constitutional changes including a reduction in the voting age to 17 will be put to the electorate in May 2015.

This morning, Tanáiste Eamon Gilmore said it was important that the Government “win” any referendum on same-sex marriage.

“It is important that we win this referendum. It is an important issue and we know from referenda on social issues before that it is important to do some preparation before the referendum is held,” he said on his way into the Cabinet meeting this morning.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said he also supported the principle of gay marriage and had no objection to it. “If we’ve learned anything we’ve learned that different lifestyles should not only be accepted but celebrated,” he told reporters today.

There could be an age divide on the issue among the public, he said. “I have met nobody under 40 who is not in favour,” he said.

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin indicated the majority of Cabinet believed there should be a referendum on same-sex marriage.

Mr Howlin said the Constitutional Convention was very strong in its recommendation that there should be a referendum. This was “probably the opinion of the majority of Cabinet”.

A number of Fine Gael TDs have expressed the fear that a referendum next year so soon after the defeat of the proposal to abolish the Seanad could lead to another defeat for the Government.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Mr Shatter said he suspects the general public are suffering from referendum fatigue.

“Having been in the Dáil for many years, I can’t recall so many referenda taking place within such a short space of time on so many very important issues. It may well be the case that 2014 is a referendum-free year and that if further referendums take place, possibly they should be in 2015.”

H/T: The Irish Times

(via Daily Kos: #IL4M: Marriage Equality will likely be coming up for a vote in Illinois next week)

Next week, as the veto session resumes in Illinois, a very important bill will be up for a vote in Springfield. That bill is the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (IL SB10), which if passed, will make Illinois either the 15th or the 16th state to legalize marriage equality.

If the bill passes with more than 60 but less than 71 votes during the veto session in the House, it will likely be amended to delay the effective date to June 1st, 2014. And it will also cause the Senate to vote on it again (should pass easily there), and then onto Governor Quinn’s desk to sign it for it to become law, effective 06.01.2014.

If the bill passes with 71+ votes, it will go straight to the Governor and will take effect 30 days from the bill’s passage and/or the Governor’s signature on the bill.

David Ormsby at Illinois Observer:

(Chicago) – Insider: It seems likely that the Illinois House will be voting on same sex marriage legislation when lawmakers return to Springfield next week.
State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), the measure’s chief House sponsor, strongly hinted on Wednesday night that he plans to call the bill for a vote during the last week of the fall veto session which begins on Tuesday, November 5.
“I think my colleagues should be prepared next week to make history on marriage equality,” Harris told The Illinois Observer during his fall fundraiser in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.
WLS Chicago (ABC7):
November 1, 2013 (CHICAGO) — After months of energetic lobbying, both sides in the Illinois same-sex marriage debate are ready for a vote next week that supporters say would fulfill a pledge by the sponsor to bring the issue back to Springfield.

Anticipating a likely vote during the final week of the veto session, some lawmakers previously on the fence have announced their position on the question. Others are quickly drafting proposed changes so they can support the bill. More activists are calling for immediate action. And even opponents are planning for fallout ahead of the campaign season.

I personally hope and pray that same-sex marriage is legalized in my home state, and I urge you to call and/or email your Representative to tell that person to vote YES on IL SB10!
In the words of Duck Dynasty's Uncle Si, Let's pass the damn bill, jack!

More on the IL marriage equality fight, see the #IL4M tag on Justin’s Political Corner.

Twitter/Instagram/Facebook hashtags in support of IL SB10: #IL4M, #ILove, #ILequality, #ILSB10, #ILCantWait

The REAL FACTS about SB10 and the lies that IFI and their ilk spout out about the bill, which are debunked in this infosheet:


I love how the right simplifies this argument. But the truth is, same sex marriage IS simple. There is no reason to fight it.


I love how the right simplifies this argument. But the truth is, same sex marriage IS simple. There is no reason to fight it.

(via thepoliticalfreakshow)


Chris Christie drops challenge to same-sex marriage in New Jersey

(Photo: NBC News)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie abandoned the state’s legal challenge to same-sex marriage on Monday, hours after gay couples began tying the knot in the wake of a court ruling.

Continue reading

Tracy Baim from the Windy City Times has excellent points on our state’s marriage equality issue.


There is a lot of buzz about the timing of the push for a vote on the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, otherwise known as the marriage equality bill in Illinois.

The question is, who controls the strategy? Is there any way to know for sure what the “community” wants? No, not really. Getting consensus in our community is worse than herding feral cats. But based on the push for a vote in May, and the increasing pressure for a vote from leaders and activists all summer—and now into the fall veto session of the state legislature—there appears to be a critical mass of Illinois citizens who want a vote sooner, not later.

Some people say don’t push the vote until we know for sure it will pass. On an emotional social justice issue, sometimes people will not commit until they are forced to choose which side of history they want to be on. So until the vote, we may not know who is for us, against us, or who will simply never commit either way.

That’s why this issue is so complicated. You can’t know the true vote until the vote is called. Thus, our elected officials can’t make any promises on the bill passing later. They can claim that they have the votes in January—even though they do not know where they truly stand this fall. A vote in the hand is worth far more than what any two politicians can promise us in the bush.

Yes, a January vote could mean faster implementation of state marriage rights for same-sex couples ( unless they had enough votes this fall to move up the start date ). But what happens if they keep the delay going, until everyone is “safe” from a political challenge? With the Illinois primary season so many months ahead of the general election, that means representatives are basically always running for re-election. The “safety” zone is small—and there are very few examples of successful challenges to elected officials who back LGBT and marriage equality. Actually, it’s the other way around—legislators have lost because of their anti-LGBT votes.

It also means the community will continue to spend money and time on an issue that should have been resolved earlier this year. We have a lot of issues that need attention, and marriage really should be settled by now. Illinois became a majority Democratic state in part because of the party’s claims to be pro-LGBT; well, the Democrats are losing major credibility on a variety of fronts, including on this issue.

While there is a slight chance that passage in January could be guaranteed, there are far more upsides to voting on marriage equality this fall. Here are a few reasons why we should vote, and why we are operating from a position of strength in doing so:

— Knowing who is a firm “yes” will help focus efforts on lobbying for the next round.

— Because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling eliminating one section of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal government has started to approve federal benefits LGBTs have been seeking for decades. That means Illinois couples can go to other states to get married now and at least get federal benefits ( and some state ones ).

There is a strong legal case working through the Illinois courts seeking marriage equality in Illinois.

— Many corporations are starting to fall in line with federal marriage equality.

Realistically, with the filing deadline for candidates just a short time after the final day of the scheduled fall veto session, there are few truly at-risk incumbent politicians, and certainly most Democrats are not really at risk on this vote. Their party leadership should be able to give “cover” to those at risk, if there really are any. And those that voted yes will have strong backing from LGBTs and allies.

If ever there was a time to press hardest for a vote, it is now. We have all the power, we have the momentum, and we have fallbacks to get people covered while we wait for Illinois legislators to catch up to history.

I also propose a strategy if the vote does not happen this fall:

— We start a bus brigade of couples going to Iowa and Minnesota for marriage to happen weekly in those states until Illinois gets marriage equality.

— If opposition candidates in a few key districts can’t be organized by the filing deadline, a few write-in candidates should be backed for 2014—the general election is not until November, which leaves time to mount targeted campaigns against anti-LGBT or neutral incumbents.

A lot of people have called me naive ( and worse ) when it comes to pushing for a vote in May—and now. But I am not alone in wanting to know where people stand. They do not need more time to decide if they have courage. You either have it or you don’t. If your career is more important than your integrity, or than doing what is right, than maybe you are in the wrong profession. In the 1980s Chicago City Council, the community pressed multiple times for a vote on the gay-rights law, and each time more politicians joined the side of justice. But we had to start with a vote to know where to press for change.

I leave our politicians with these quotes on courage: “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy,” Dale Carnegie.

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear," Nelson Mandela

Let me be clear: There is a lot more to lose here if they delay a vote than if they lose a vote. There is far more courage in fighting for what is right and losing than staying on the sidelines. If we lose, we will fight another day ( and encourage people to get married in other states in the meantime ). And if a similar bill returns next spring, and passes after a lot more work, it would start the same time as if it were to have passed this fall with a simple majority. But we do not want that.

What do we want? A vote. When do we want it? This fall.

h/t: Tracy Baim at Windy City Times