Editorial: Time for Illinois to act on gay marriage
Editorials June 26, 2013 5:56PM
President Barack Obama | AP file photo
Updated: July 30, 2013 7:34AM
“The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.”
— President Barack Obama, reacting to Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down the core of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Did you hear that, Illinois?
Wednesday was a historic day for same-sex couples nationally, with two landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings, one making gay couples eligible for federal benefits and the other allowing for same-sex marriage in California.
But here in the president’s home state, our laws still trail behind.
Same-sex couples cannot wed in Illinois despite a massive push in Springfield that came up short in the spring legislative session. Illinois gay couples remain on the sidelines, still denied more than a thousand federal benefits such as Social Security survivor’s benefits and the right to jointly file tax returns.
So while we celebrate progress, the inferiority of Illinois’ only option for gay couples — a civil union — was made painfully clear on Wednesday. A gay couple in Iowa, which allows for marriage, is now able to access all the rights of a marriage, local and federal. In Illinois, half a loaf will have to do.
Unless the Illinois House moves — and moves quickly — to pass the same-sex marriage bill that already sailed through the Senate.
As our local injustice sinks in, as the dramatic pace of shifting attitudes on marriage equality sink in, we remain hopeful that Illinois lawmakers will act. And by that, we mean act this summer or in the fall veto session. It’s time for Illinois politicians — including all candidates for governor — to make their views on same-sex marriage known.
We trust they will be touched by the human stories fueling this quest for equality, just as the majority of our nation’s Supreme Court Justices were. The two cases before the court were, at their heart, about couples looking for recognition of their love and their union.
Nothing more, nothing less.