Illinois Senate committee sends gay-marriage bill to floor

Illinois Senate committee sends gay-marriage bill to floor

SPRINGFIELD — Danielle Cook of Farmer City, who already has a civil union with her partner, Suzie Hutton, told state senators Tuesday that she wants a full-fledged marriage because "marriage is the standard in our society."

The Senate Executive Committee, in a 9-5 party-line vote, approved a bill (SB 10) allowing gay marriage in Illinois. It now moves to the full Senate, where passage is considered likely. But it may find a tougher time in the House.

"In numerous settings and in ways big and small, we learned that a civil union is not the same as being married," Cook said. "It's not really recognized or understood as marriage is. After getting a civil union, for example, we decided to add Suzie to the health care plan at my work. Everyone and my employer knew that Suzie and I had been together for years. Everyone knew that we were getting a civil union. When I contacted the human-resources department, I was told that we would have to produce the civil-union certificate before Suzie could be added to my plan. That department does not ask anyone for a marriage license, but they asked us for a civil-union certificate."

Further, she noted that forms at doctor's offices have boxes for "single," "married" and "divorced," but not for civil unions.

"The message was sent in other, more personal ways as well. It even came in how individuals responded to learning that we had gotten a civil union," she said.

"Everyone knows how to respond to someone one who announced that they got married — with congratulations and good wishes. Most people did not know how to respond to our getting a civil union."

She asserted that people have less respect for a civil union "because marriage is the standard in our society."

"Marriage is the standard for people who find relationships built on love and common commitment," she said. "Our relationship is a marriage. It's built on love and commitment in the same way that every marriage is constructed. I feel like I am married to Suzie. I want to be married to Suzie. I want our relationship to be given the same respect that only marriage provides."

Also testifying for the bill was the Rev. Suzanne Anderson-Hurdle of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Romeoville. She said that churches that do not condone same-sex marriages should not be forced to perform them.

"Likewise," she said, "those of us who believe in marriage equality should have the right to perform marriage ceremonies, and we believe they should be recognized in the eyes of the law as marriages."

But Joseph La Rue, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., suggested several possible scenarios where the same-sex-marriage proposal might limit religious freedom.

"I am extremely concerned that it does not do enough (to protect religious liberty) and in fact, the bill as written, if enacted, will actually infringe on religious liberty and instead of being a religious-freedom act, it will actually become a religious-discrimination act," he said.

He said churches might be required, under the state's public-accommodations law to rent their facilities for same-sex weddings.

He also said churches could be required to hire someone in a same-sex marriage, provided that one of the partners is of the church's faith.

Further, La Rue said the measure "does not provide any protection for the rights of conscience of individual people in a marriage-related business, such as a baker, photographer or even a judge."

"They would have to participate in a same-sex wedding if they were asked," he said. "It doesn't offer protections for people who disagree with same-sex but who will be asked to participate in same-sex marriages because of their businesses."

Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, one of the five GOP senators voting against advancing the bill to the Senate floor, predicted the gay-marriage law would lead to lawsuits.

"This is a foothold for litigation," he said.

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B-Evs wrote on February 06, 2013 at 9:02 am

Perhaps someone should remind Mr. La Rue and Senator Righter that discriminating based on sexual preference is already illegal under the Illinois Human Rights Act, which was amended in 2005.  Their worries about 'righteous' people having to possibly being sued for being bigots is a bit late.

If churches are worried about possibly having to rent out their facilities for same-sex weddings, then they should make it part of their renting contracts that they only rent to members of their church.  If they still have that problem, then they should publicly kick those members out of their church and let other members of their church leave (and take their money with them) in response to their public bigotry.  Do Catholic parishes rent out their churches for non-Catholic ceremonies?

cretis16 wrote on February 06, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Why not put this issue to a referendum? Let the voters of the state decide?

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 06, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Because there is no reason tio do so if it can pass the legislature. Just do whatever it takes to be on the right side of history for once.

cretis16 wrote on February 07, 2013 at 1:02 pm

The State would vote overwhelmingly to stop this idiocy..that's why there won't be a state wide vote.

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 07, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Yes, I would hope that the state would vote overhwelmingly to stop the current idiocy of government sponsored bigotry. It would cost significantly more than just putting it to a vote among the duly elected representatives, though.

Bulldogmojo wrote on February 06, 2013 at 11:02 am

Isn't it sad that this is even still an issue in 2013, that the fear and bigotry directed at people who are different has to lead to these conversations? This nation's dependence on stagnant and absurd religious ideology for public policy making needs to stop. These disciminations are just variations on the "white lunch counter, black lunch counter" nonsense that still lingers in our so called "free society". 

As a 48 year old white middle class male I can honestly say I have never experienced any real discrimination, but I am always amazed when I come face to face with bigotry, like when my boss went on a 5 minute diatribe at my office door on how gay people shouldn't be allowed into churches. Like when my pharmacist referred to the difficult customer in front of me as a spook once he was out of earshot and she just assumed I would think that was funny and join in. Bigotry is an insideous disease that lurks wherever it can take hold and in the most unexpected places and it has no place in our society.  

Joe American wrote on February 06, 2013 at 10:02 am

Anyone who believes this is about marriage is a fool.  It's about control.

imru95 wrote on February 06, 2013 at 11:02 am

Whose control Joe?

asparagus wrote on February 07, 2013 at 9:02 am

Control of what?

Chicagobluesgirl wrote on February 06, 2013 at 5:02 pm


The simple solution is to give civil unions the same rights in Human Resources and on hospital forms, documents, etc. rather than changing the definition of marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Marriage does not mean between any two who love each other. To change its meaning is a slippery slope which other countries have tried and to no good end.’re-in-the-fast-lane-to-polygamy/

I agree with the other comment stating that this is about control not about marriage, so I doubt if logic will matter. 


SaintClarence27 wrote on February 06, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Marriage is whatever we define it to be legally. I could care less about semantics of marriage vs. civil unions.

Also, your links are ludicrous, and to compare gays to pedophiles is downright bigoted. Seriously, you people need to go away.

asparagus wrote on February 07, 2013 at 9:02 am

An even simpler solution is to just recognize same sex marriage as marriage, period. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 07, 2013 at 11:02 am

asparagus;  Good comment.  It makes sense.

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 07, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Asparagus - while we seem to have clashed regarding the homeless thing, THIS I am in 100% agreement on.

equalitysupporter wrote on February 07, 2013 at 6:02 pm

The simple solution is to treat everyone as equals. The simple solution is pass SB-10 into law. I participated in the last election by exercising my right to vote for the people that I felt would best represent me in the House and Senate. Now I expect them to pass this bill so that these families can get on with their lives. It's 2013! and hey Joe... this is about marriage, equal rights, and putting an end to your ability to control this aspect of someone else's life.

mark taylor's ghost wrote on February 08, 2013 at 9:02 am

These dang homosexualistics just don't know when to shut the heck up. They keep trying to force their 'lifestyle' down my throat and I'm sick of gagging on it!!!!1!

Homosexualtisticism IS A CHOICE!!!!11!

I remember when I decided to be a heterosexualist. It was when I was about 13, in the shower at school. Sure, it was tempting to choose to be a homosexualistic, but I conquered my sinful hedonistic lust and just decided to be a good opposite sex marriage participant instead.

Now I have a real female wife who I have, on more than one occasion mind you, lain with and produced good upright spawn who I am confident will follow my footsteps and make the right choice and become heterosexualists.

We must choose to deny our sinful lustful nature and settle in for a long life of heterosexualism.

rsp wrote on February 08, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Was that the original conversion therapy? The locker room shower? You should write a book. I don't know what it should be about but it would be funny. At least to most of us. Some people just don't like the reflection.