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Madigan: Illinois House 12 Votes Short Of Passing Marriage Equality Legislation

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 14, 2013 2:25PM

Photo by Melody Kramer
Don’t expect marriage equality legislation to be voted on in the Illinois House anytime soon. According to Speaker Michael Madigan, the bill passed by the state Senate on Valentine’s Day is 12 votes short of passage in the House, so he and supporters of the bill have some schmoozing to do before same-sex marriage can be legalized in Illinois.

The Windy City Times took a roll call of House members and determined Senate Bill 10 was 10 votes shy of passage. Regardless, there are some members of the House on the fence Madigan, Rep. Greg Harris (the bill’s sponsor) and others need to convince in order to pass the bill.

The House Executive Committee approved SB 10 by a 6-5 vote Feb. 26, a sign the bill would face a tougher fight in the House than the Senate. While a majority of Illinoisans support marriage equality, opponents of the bill have ramped up their efforts to keep it from passing. The Illinois Family PAC has been funding robocalls to constituents represented by state Rep. Mike Smiddy (D - Hinsdale) accusing him of “taking money from Chicago homosexuals” in an attempt to frame the debate as another “Chicago versus downstate” argument. As Capitol Fax’s Rich Miller noted, Family PAC is wasting money there: Smiddy is firmly in support of the bill.

Rev. James Meeks of Salem Baptist Church, a former state senator, is backing robocalls in 14 legislative districts — mostly African American — calling for opposition to the bill.

Meanwhile, Anthony Martinez, executive director of the Civil Rights Agenda, responded to comments from state Rep. Jeanie Ives (R - Wheaton) made on the Catholic Conference of Illinois Radio Hour that same-sex couples are “trying to weasel their way into acceptability so that they can then start to push their agenda down into the schools, because this gives them some sort of legitimacy, and we can’t allow that to happen.”

“Poll after poll shows that the fair-minded people of Illinois support marriage equality. Representatives on both sides of the aisle really need to think about how they want to be remembered in 20 years. Will they be on the side of fairness and equality, or on the side where Representative Ives is standing now? “Representative Ives may call me a weasel, but I call her a chicken. She has not taken one vote on the issues that she campaigned on - conceal and carry and pensions. Maybe the representative should worry about representing the will of the people rather than pushing political rhetoric that is not based in reality.”