All year, Illinoisans of the pro-equality side were looking forward to May 31st. ?The day was thought to signal the beginning of a new age of acceptance and progression for the Land of Lincoln. ?As the deadline for the bill approached the Illinois House, fervor overtook supporters of the LGBT movement nationwide. ?History was going to be made.
However, despite the backing of powerful Democrats including Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and the President of the United States Barack Obama, Representative Greg Harris was forced to announce that he could not call the bill to the floor because of a lack of support. ?Through tears, he spoke to the throngs of supporters present in Springfield as well as the citizens to be affected statewide,
I apologize to the families who were hoping to wake up tomorrow as full and equal citizens of this state. . . This was the hardest thing I’ve done in my life.
Two years ago, the state of Illinois passed into law the acceptance of civil unions which gave same-sex couples throughout the state the same state-level rights as officially married couples. ?However, LGBT activists pushed further for an equal marriage bill, a bill that would make it possible that any?loving, committed couple could be married? rather than certain people settling to be labeled a?union.
The victories in Minnesota last month and in neighboring Iowa in 2009, left many believing that the momentum in the Midwest would carry over into rewritten law in Illinois. ?Yet, for every prominent individual that spoke in support of equality, the crowd of hate groups and conservative coalitions voiced their unconstitutional views on the legal definition of marriage even louder in impetuous resistance.
Groups like the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) plotted and stood firmly in the way of progress before the vote. ?IFI “cultural analyst” and spokesperson, Laurie Higgins spread her paranoid propaganda in attempts at stopping the bill from passing making media statements of the horrific future that was ahead should gay marriage become law.
Public schools will be hiring teachers who are in legal ?homosexual marriages.??These teachers will put photos of their homosexual spouses on their desks and talk about their homosexual spouses to their students.?Such images and ideas coming from teachers whom children love and admire will powerfully shape the feelings and beliefs of young boys and girls, particularly when such images and ideas are reinforced countless times in other cultural contexts. Such images and ideas will undermine what is being taught at home.
Other like-minded religious leaders voiced celebration at the continued legal inhibition of American citizens and residents of Illinois. ?Bishop Larry Trotter of the African American Clergy Coalition praised the non-vote by saying,
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 LGBT forces and allowed God’s word concerning marriage to remain between one man and one woman in Illinois.
After months of anticipation, equal rights advocates nationwide were let down by the lack of a vote in a state that prides itself on being the home of possibly the most progressive president in all of American history. ?Rep. ?Harris worked laboriously to ensure the passage of the bill after Senator Heather Steans of Chicago pushed it through the Senate this past Valentine’s day. ?Harris promised to return with the bill in the Fall Veto session of November. ?The fight, although stuttered, is far from over for both sides. ?Perhaps our great state can channel the powerfully, relevant words of our beloved Abraham Lincoln:
I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.