Friday, June 07, 2013

Left Side of the Aisle #111 - Part 3

Update: marriage equality bill delayed in Illinois

I have to give an update to something I said last week. I said, as was reported at the time, that supporters of same-sex marriage in the Illinois House of Representatives were confident they had the votes to pass a bill to that end before the legislative session ended May 31.

It didn't work out that way. State Rep. Greg Harris, the bill's sponsor, addressed the House on the evening of the last day and announced that he would not be calling the vote because House colleagues asked for more time to consider it. The marriage equality bill had already been approved by the state Senate and Gov. Pat Quinn has promised to sign it, so the House vote was the last remaining obstacle to final passage and approval.

Now it won't be considered until the fall at the earliest.

“I’ve never been sadder,” Harris said. He teared up as he made the announcement. However, he added that “We will be back and we will be voting on this bill in this legislature, in this room. Until then, I apologize to the families who were hoping they would wake up tomorrow as full, equal citizens of this state.” And he remains confident it will pass. Until then, however, the sting of defeat is felt by many.

But even now, there are good signs on the issue as a whole: Across the nation, one of the driving forces behind the opposition to marriage equality has been the Catholic Church. But as a recent article points out, the evidence is that the Church's influence is waning: Recall, for example, that just last month Rhode Island became the last of the six New England states to approve same-sex marriage, a victory in the most Catholic state in the most Catholic region of the country.

A good part of the reason is that according to polls, the Church hierarchy is increasingly out of touch with the feelings of rank-and-file Catholics: For example, a CBS News/New York Times poll in February found that 62 percent of American Catholics think same-sex marriages should be legal.

There are still battles to be fought, losses to endure. But I say again: On this one, if on nothing else, we are winning.


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