Illinois gets married to equality
By Tom Cicero
An unexpected victory for same-sex couples in Illinois was achieved last Thursday when the House passed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. The passing of the bill marks Illinois as the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Throughout the entire process of gaining support for the bill, Gov. Pat Quinn promised to sign it once it reached his office. He will follow through on that promise Nov. 20.
In an official statement last Tuesday, Quinn said, “Today, the Illinois House put our state on the right side of history. Illinois is a place that embraces all people, and today we are an example for the nation.”
Since Democrats hold the majority in the House, the Senate and the governor’s office, many seemed hopeful that the bill would pass sooner, as most Democrats are in support of same-sex marriage. Many also expected that the vote on the bill would be pushed until next year, when the appropriate support would be in place to get it passed.
The decision came, however, after more than a two hour-long debate among lawmakers. Various supporters referenced Barack Obama and Martin Luther King Jr. as beacons for equality and civil rights in their arguments.
On the opposing side of the bill were religious leaders and some Republicans from the House, including Rep. Tom Morrison, R-Palatine.
Morrison said that this bill had “far-reaching implications in our society,” and was disrupting the traditional sanctity of marriage.
With an openly gay president, and with the university’s focus being social justice, many at Roosevelt University felt that it was about time the bill was passed.
Claudia Remy, a sophomore who attended the March on Springfield, shared her thoughts on the matter.
“[The passing of the bill] means that the people who have been denied the rights to so many good things because of the prejudice of others finally get what they deserve,” Remy said. “It makes me feel like the march really made a difference and opened the eyes and the ears of our lawmakers. As for what happens next, I don’t know, but at this point it’s only good things left.”