Countdown Clocks

Countdown Clocks

Tweets by @JGibsonDem
Posts tagged "Same Sex Marriage"

As expected, SSM returns to California, Prop 8 thrown out.

Tomorrow’s the big day for the future of our nation on the subject of LGBTQ rights and marriage equality. I surely hope that #SCOTUS decides to strike down #DOMA AND #Prop8


SCOTUS, your goals on the 2 big LGBTQ rights cases this week: Overturn DOMA and Prop 8.


The researchers assessed a representative sample of mainstream coverage for two months this year, and found that many stories contained either a balanced mix of views or no views at all. But of the rest, roughly five times as many stories were weighted toward support for same-sex marriage as were weighted toward opposition.

“A story was deemed to be in support of or opposition to same-sex marriage if the statements expressing that view outnumbered opposing statements by at least 2-to-1,” the report stated.

It added, “The level of support conveyed in the news media examined here goes beyond the level seen in public opinion surveys.” The imbalance was evident both in reporting and in commentary, and on all three of the major cable news channels, Fox News, MSNBC and CNN.

While critics have suggested that the positive coverage is out of touch with the culture at large, many supporters of same-sex marriage see the issue as a civil rights issue and agree with media outlets’ moves to focus on supporters over those opposed.

URGENT PRAYER ALERT: The Illinois House of Representatives will vote whether or not to make Illinois the 13th state to legalize marriage equality this week, possibly as soon as this afternoon (most likely saved for the one of the final two days of the Session, which ends on Friday). I want to you please pray about the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (IL SB10) that will be up for a vote, and hope the House votes YES on it, as the Senate has passed it on Valentine’s Day. If it passes the House, it’s off to Governor Quinn for him to sign it into law. When it passes, it will be a happy happy happy time for Illinois!

Please call and/or email your Representative to say that they will vote YES to IL SB10!

Fact sheet:

In the next few days prior to May 31st— possibly as soon as today in the Illinois House of Representatives— a vote on the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (aka IL SB10) will occur, and if it passes, it will make Illinois the 13th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

ICYMI on my past editorials on marriage equality to the BND:
01.30.2013, before the Senate vote:

With the pending legalization of same-sex marriage coming to the Land of Lincoln via the Illinois General Assembly, let’s remember some facts:
  •  Same-sex marriage legalization benefits the economy.
  • Marriage is between two human adults, whether it is between a man and a woman, woman and woman, or man and man.
  • It will not lead to people marrying their cats, dogs, turtles, computers or any other non-human(s).
  • Unlike the current civil unions law, same-sex couples will have full benefits and rights.
  • Despite the fearmongering from the Illinois Family Institute and other religious right conservative interest groups, religious freedoms will not be weakened if this bill passes.
I think it’s long past time to make Illinois the tenth state to legalize same-sex marriage 
Justin Gibson
Granite City

03.05.2013, while still in limbo between the House Committee vote and the full House vote:

On Valentine’s Day, The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (SB10) passed 34-21-2-2 in the Illinois Senate. And on Tuesday night before 10:30 p.m., the House Executive Committee voted 6-5 to send it to the full House for its vote, which will most likely occur within the next two weeks.
As SB10 gets closer to a full vote in the Illinois House of Representatives, it is important to consider the benefits of allowing same-sex marriage in Illinois (a letter that I wrote to this paper in more detail that was featured in the Jan. 30 edition).
I want to add more points about this issue:
As a Christian who believes in religious freedom and attends church every Sunday, it is both the right thing and the Christian thing to endorse this bill’s passage because of its religious freedom protections, even if the majority of the attenders of my church (Grace Baptist Church in Granite City) oppose the bill.
* As a resident of Illinois, it is the smart thing to pass the bill in support of giving couples who love each other — irrespective of sexual orientation — the freedom to marry whoever they choose. 
* When same-sex marriage finally becomes the law here in the Land of Lincoln, it will improve the Supreme Court’s chances of ruling in favor of repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and/or California’s Proposition 8 that was passed in 2008.
Contact your state representative to vote “yes” on SB10.
Justin Gibson
Granite City

That second letter hit home regarding religious freedom and my support of IL SB10.

The Illinois GOP decided to make Pat Brady resign earlier this month due to his support of marriage equality.


Embroiled in an intraparty fight over his support for gay marriage, Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady stepped down on Tuesday as leader of the state party.
Brady has been facing heat from the more conservative wing of his party for months, ever since he announced his support for same sex marriage legislation before the state legislature earlier this year.

The new head of the ILGOP will very likely be a far-right IFI-type loon running it.

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

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

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


A year ago, when Vice President Joe Biden revealed in a television interview that he supported same-sex marriage, such unions were legal in six states.

Tuesday, the Legislature in Biden’s home state, Delaware, voted to become the 11th such state, part of a rapid shift on the issue that is making same-sex marriage the norm in liberal parts of the country. The Delaware Senate approved the marriage bill, 12-9, sending it to Gov. Jack Markell, who has championed the measure.

Delaware’s action, combined with Rhode Island’s passage of a similar law last week, means that same-sex marriage is now legal in most of the Northeast, from Maine through Maryland, with the notable exceptions of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie, the state’s Republican chief executive, has blocked a marriage bill passed by the Legislature. 

The legislative battles on the issue are now moving to the Midwest, where the Minnesota House is expected to vote on a marriage bill this week. The outcome there hinges on a few legislators, mostly members of the state’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party representing rural parts of the state, who have not yet revealed their positions. Opponents have publicly said, however, they are losing ground.

Gay rights supporters are “hopeful” about the Minnesota outcome, said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, one of the chief advocacy groups on the issue.

The year’s biggest prize for supporters of same-sex marriage would be Illinois, where a legalization bill has passed the state Senate, but faces a more difficult fight in the House.

Supporters say they are closing in on the votes they need, but with the legislature’s spring session entering its final weeks, they have not yet brought the measure to the House floor. Gov. Pat Quinn has promised to sign the bill if it passes both houses.

The Supreme Court heard arguments earlier this year in a case challenging California’s Proposition 8, which barred same-sex marriages in the state. The justices could use that case to require all states to allow same-sex marriages, but when the case was argued, their comments indicated that they are unlikely to do so. A ruling on that case likely will come in June.

H/T: Los Angeles Times


Congratulations, Rhode Island! Reblog this photo to celebrate the 10th state where same-sex couples can marry!

Springfield, IL — Legislators have returned to Springfield this week, and numerous activists are asking whether this could be the week that the House will vote to make Illinois the 10th state permitting same-sex marriage.

The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act passed the House Executive Committee in a narrow 6-5 vote Feb. 26, and the full state Senate Feb. 14. Should the legislation pass the House, the bill’s passage is all but guaranteed. Gov. Pat Quinn has long assured marriage equality advocates that he will sign the legislation, and today told Windy City Times that he thought the vote was close.

"We’ve been talking to house members of both parties, really dozens of them," Quinn said. "I’m really optimistic we’re within striking distance. Hopefully between now and the 31st of May, Greg Harris, our sponsor, will find a moment to call the bill for a roll call."

Several other lawmakers have picked up the baton as well, among them House Speaker Michael Madigan, who suddenly announced back in March that the bill was 12 votes shy of passing, had publically expressed his desire to see the bill pass. His daughter, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan—whose office last year intervened on behalf of 25 couples who sued the Cook County Clerk’s office for the right to marry—penned an April 24 Chicago Tribune editorial in support as well. She wrote, “Legal arguments aside, this issue at its heart is about one of the most fundamental decisions we can make — with whom to share our lives. In every community in Illinois, same-sex couples have chosen to join together and, in many instances, to raise families of their own. … They deserve the same rights and responsibilities that civil marriage offers straight couples.”

Some support has started to stream in from across the aisle, as some GOP politicians started to speak out on behalf of gay marriage. Sen. Mark Kirk on April 2 said he supported the legislation, owing to a change of perspective brought on by his near-death experience. ”Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage,” said Kirk in a statement. ”Our time on this earth is limited, I know that better than most. Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back — government has no place in the middle.”

Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady Saturday contended with two unsuccessful attempts to oust him as party chairman, led by anti-gay state Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove), over his support for same-sex marriage. 

Many activists and politicians contend that a large number of GOP House members support the legislation in private but are to afraid to vote yes for fear of a backlash from constituents. Activists have thus continued efforts to lobby and educate them, along with reluctant Democrats. Organizations such as Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal andThe Civil Rights Agenda have repeatedly called upon residents to contact their legislators to both urge them to vote yes and share connections with gay and lesbian family and friends.

"Every day until this passes, people need to be in touch with their representatives—let them know that the people of Illinois want this brought to a vote," said Bernard Cherkasov of Equality Illinois in March. 

But marriage equality advocates aren’t the only ones calling Illinoisans to action. The conservative website Illinois Review reported April 30 that constituents of State Reps. Bob Rita (D-Blue Island), Elgie Sims (D-Chicago) and Art Turner (D-Chicago) are receiving robo-calls urging them to ask their legislators to vote no on the legislation. The calls feature former State Sen. James Meeks and are funded by the National Organization for Marriage. They reportedly stem from a coalition between some African American ministers, Hispanic ministers and the Chicago Archdiocese, according to Illinois Review.


But after a full month of maneuvering in which a bill to legalize same-sex marriage seemed pretty much stalled in the Illinois House, there are signs that the logjam could break soon:

Key lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, speaking on background, say they expect the bill to pass in the next month, sending it to the desk of Gov. Pat Quinn, who has promised to sign it. At least a few Republicans are on board, with House GOP Leader Tom Cross publicly neutral but privately said to be helpful.

One swing representative who asked not to be named said he’ll vote “yes” but won’t publicly declare himself until the end. “I may lose my seat,” that official told me. “I don’t care. I want to be on the right side of history.”

That’s similar to statements being made by Chicago Democrat Ken Dunkin, the head of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, who earlier this week announced his support for the bill, explaining, “I have always believed that discrimination is wrong, no matter whom it targets.”

Indeed, African-American lawmakers likely are the most key group on this issue right now, caught between traditional civil rights concerns and religious conservatives. The announcement from Mr. Dunkin, who represents the old Cabrini-Green area on the Near North Side, may move some others.

Perhaps with an eye on a race for governor, Ms. Madigan has begun picking up the phone in recent days to urge wavering lawmakers to vote for the bill, which already has passed the Senate. More significantly, Mr. Madigan, who a few weeks ago suggested the bill was a dozen votes short, recently has begun to get more active behind the scenes, I’m told.

Best information right now is that the bill has solid support from between 55 and 57 House members. It needs 60 to pass. That’s awfully close — particularly if the Springfield powers that be really want it to pass.


In 2011, when the General Assembly passed the law allowing civil unions, Illinois took an important step forward to recognize that gay and lesbian couples have the right to build lives together and create strong, loving families.

The civil union law, however, has created two types of marriage. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently described it, we have “full marriage,” and we have “this sort of skim-milk marriage.”

Thankfully, in keeping with Illinois’ long tradition of equal protection, the Legislature is poised to do away with this watered-down alternative and legally authorize the civil marriage of individuals, regardless of whom they love.

I believe that passing the marriage equality bill is the only way to fulfill the promise of equal protection under the Illinois Constitution. While I have supported marriage equality since my days as a state senator over a decade ago, I have since conducted an extensive legal analysis that has only emboldened my support as attorney general.

A ban on same-sex marriage violates the state Constitution’s equal protection clause. The law does not allow the state or federal government to create a separate class of marriage based on a person’s sexual orientation. There is no other way to describe this than to call it discrimination. That is why, in state court, I have intervened in a lawsuit challenging Illinois’ current marriage law, and at the federal level, my office has filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court that support overturning California’s same-sex marriage ban and finding the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

Legal arguments aside, this issue at its heart is about one of the most fundamental decisions we can make — with whom to share our lives. In every community in Illinois, same-sex couples have chosen to join together and, in many instances, to raise families of their own. These couples are our relatives and friends, our neighbors, co-workers and parents of our children’s classmates. They deserve the same rights and responsibilities that civil marriage offers straight couples.

The General Assembly has worked diligently to craft a bill that would give these families that opportunity while protecting the rights of churches and religious organizations to practice their faith. With the Illinois House poised for final action on this legislation, the direction forward is clear. It is time for Illinois to join the states that recognize the value and dignity of equal rights for all committed couples.

Lisa Madigan is the attorney general of Illinois.

h/t: Chicago Tribune


From Sea To Shining Sea: Gay Marriage Support Rises In All 50 States

Support for same-sex marriage has grown across all 50 U.S. states over the past eight years, a new report has found.

Published by the UCLA’s Williams Institute, “Public Support for Marriage for Same-Sex Couples by State” examines each state’s current stance on the legality of marriage equality, as well as the overall change in public opinion since 2004.

Over the past eight years, every U.S. state has increased in its support for same-sex marriage, with an average increase of 13.6 percent, and if the public opinion trends continue at the same pace, eight additional states will be above 50 percent support by the end of next year.

But lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates shouldn’t get overly optimistic by the report’s findings, as Williams Institute researchers pointed to what was described as “a notable disparity” that exists across state boundaries, according to a press release.

Still, the findings seem in line with a number of other polls: a POLITICO and George Washington University survey found that, out of 1,000 likely voters, 40 percent of respondents said they support marriage equality, while 30 percent said they supported civil unions.

Meanwhile, a LifeWay Research study released in March found that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe legalized same-sex marriage in the U.S. is inevitable.

Read the full Williams Institute poll here.