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Bill Clinton Joins Push For Gay Marriage In Illinois

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 21, 2013 8:20PM

Photo credit: Matt Maldre
The fight for marriage equality in Illinois received another high-profile boost Tuesday when former President Bill Clinton released a statement supporting the same sex marriage bill that's currently stalled in the Illinois House.

In the statement, Clinton evoked the specter of the Great Emancipator himself.

“Illinois has stood for the proposition that all citizens should be treated equally under the law,” Clinton said. “Lincoln himself came to Springfield in search of opportunity, and he dedicated his life to securing equal opportunity for all citizens. I believe that for Illinois and for our nation as a whole, in the 21st century that must include marriage equality.”

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see Clinton's statement is intended to capitalize on his strong African American following in the hopes Black Illinoisans will lobby their state representatives to support the bill. The Sun-Times conducted a survey that found less than half of the Illinois House Black Caucus supports the legislation. Black lawmakers don't want to be seen as alienating their constituencies if they vote in favor of the bill.

Clinton's statement also indicates time is of the essence. There are less than two weeks remaining in the Illinois General Assembly's current session. Although Gov. Pat Quinn has said repeatedly the votes are there to pass the bill, Rep. Greg Harris (D - Chicago), its chief sponsor in the House, has kept his roll call close to his vest and has not indicated if an when the bill will come to a vote.