Many Chicago residents were paying attention recently when the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases involving same-sex marriage. Many watchers considered the high court’s hearings to be a watershed moment in the quest for equality for same-sex couples. Some analysts said it appeared that the Supreme Court justices appeared wary of acting too quickly on the issue.
Meanwhile, closer to home the issue seemed to be going nowhere. Earlier this year, this blog discussed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois. If made into law, this would make Illinois one of 10 states in the nation where same-sex couples can legally marry. But, as of this writing, the bill appeared stuck.
The state Senate approved the measure in February, but proponents said it was still a few votes short of passage in the state House. Meanwhile, both proponents and opponents were accelerating their campaigns to mobilize the public.
Some proponents fear that the delay in getting through the House will give an advantage to opponents, who have been putting out hundreds of thousands of robo-calls to homes in conservative districts in an effort to drum up opposition to the bill.
Illinois passed a law in 2011 providing for civil unions for same-sex couples. Civil unions provide many of the legal benefits of marriage. Still, many same-sex couples say that the separate designation consigns them to a lesser status than heterosexual married couples. They say the only way to ensure that their families are treated like any other families under the law is to legalize same-sex marriage.
Polls show that nationwide, opinion has rapidly turned in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. But for now, it appears Illinois same-sex couples will have to wait.
Source: Yahoo! News, “As Supreme Court reviews gay marriage, Illinois battle heats up,” Mary Wisniewski, March 26, 2013