Same-Sex Marriage in Illinois

By Erika N. Chen-Walsh

On February 8, 2012, Illinois Representatives Greg Harris, Deborah Mell, Kelly M. Cassidy , and Ann Williams introduced an historic bill, House Bill 5170, entitled the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (“HB 5170″).

HB5170 seeks to amend 750 ILCS 75/1 et seq., otherwise known as the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act (the “Civil Union Act”), which became effective on June 1, 2011.  The Civil Union Act created a new form of legalized relationship in Illinois for which both opposite-sex and same-sex couples were eligible.

Illinois residents should support the passage of HB 5170 into law.  Opponents of same sex marriage argue that marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples and that the creation of civil union creates a separate, but virtually equal unionization for same sex couples.  History and case law have demonstrated that there is no such thing as separate but equal.  In its holding that the segregation of school children based on race was an unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection clause, the U.S. Supreme Court held that:

 Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other ‘tangible’ factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does. . .To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.
Brown v. Bd. of Ed. of Topeka, Shawnee County, Kan., 347 U.S. 483, 493-94, 74 S. Ct. 686, 691, 98 L. Ed. 873 (1954) supplemented sub nom. Brown v. Bd. of Educ. of Topeka, Kan., 349 U.S. 294, 75 S. Ct. 753, 99 L. Ed. 1083 (1955) (internal citations omitted).As I have written previously, there is no meaningful distinction between discrimination based on race and discrimination based on sexual orientation.  When equal protection can be denied to one group of people based on discrimination, all of our rights are in jeopardy.Illinois residents should applaud the representatives that introduced HB 5170 and should contact their own representatives and encourage them to support equal protection under the law.

The full text of HB 5170 can be reviewed here:  http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=09700HB5170lv&SessionID=84&GA=97&DocTypeID=HB&DocNum=5170&print=true.

The full text of the Civil Union Act can be reviewed here:  http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=3294&ChapterID=59.

Comments
5 Responses to “Same-Sex Marriage in Illinois”
  1. James Finley says:

    Marriage is and always has been defined as a man and woman in cultures throughout the world. It was a relationship designed as the foundation of family and child raising. No matter what two men or two woman do, they cannot have children.

    To say that this compares to segregation of blacks and whites is plainly ignorant. Homosexuality is a sexual deviance in the same class as pedophilia, bestiality, and many others. They face no segregation within our society, receiving all the same civil rights as everyone else. They can even get married in every state in the Union. The problem is they want to redefine a historical term and status to fit their deviancy. Marriage is a man and woman, not “two adults in a committed relationship.”

    In our state of Illinois, they account for 0.18% according to the last census. To change a definition that has been held by cultures worldwide for millenia would be absolutely stupid.

    • erika says:

      “Marriage is and always has been defined as a man and woman in cultures throughout the world.”

      FALSE. The first historical mention of the performance of same-sex marriages occurred during the early Roman Empire. A same-sex marriage between the two men in Spain occurred on 16 April 1061. There are other examples from other countries throughout history as well. So you are patently wrong about this.

      “Homosexuality is a sexual deviance in the same class as pedophilia, bestiality, and many others.”

      FALSE. If you believe that a loving, legal, consensual relationship between two adults is akin to the sexual abuse of a child, then it is you, sir, who is a deviant.

      “They face no segregation within our society, receiving all the same civil rights as everyone else.”

      FALSE. Homosexuality is not a protected class under Title VII.

      “They can even get married in every state in the Union.”

      Oops, WRONG AGAIN. Same sex marriage is legal in only nine states in the United States.

      Bigotry is alive and well in the United States. But, in terms of ignorance and stupidity, well, it would appear that you have made that case for yourself.

      • James Finley says:

        Just because it is legal and consensual doesn’t mean it isn’t deviance. Deviance is a departure from what is normal. Biologically, sexual reproduction cannot occur between two men or two women, plain and simple. It is deviance because of this. I didn’t say that it should be illegal, but that it was deviance.

        Civil rights are protected for both religion and nationality, which covers homosexuals the same as any other United States citizen. Adding a special class wouldn’t change their treatment, as their treatment should be, both under civil rights and moral obligation, the same.

        Marriage is a man and a woman. Marriage has no other combination. They can get married in any and every state in the Union. What you are looking for is not marriage, but something else entirely.

        And that you are a lawyer and are using ad hominem arguments such as name calling is why this cannot be a civil conversation. Instead of being intellectual, you resort to using a term such as bigotry and then use it incorrectly. It is defined as intolerance towards those with differing opinions than one’s own. Be wise when and where you use it, because the way you used it here today is in fact bigotry itself.

      • erika says:

        “Deviance is a departure from what is normal . . . I didn’t say that it should be illegal, but that it was deviance.”

        No, what you said was that “Homosexuality is a sexual deviance in the same class as pedophilia, bestiality, and many others.”

        Re civil rights, because homosexuality is not a protected class under Title VII means that it is essentially legal to discriminate against someone based on their sexual orientation (absent state laws to the contrary). Your argument that homosexuals cannot be discriminated against due to religion or nationality is like saying that African Americans cannot be discriminated against based on religion or age.

        Your definition of marriage is your personal opinion. It is in conflict with the definition of marriage in nine US states and 11 countries.

        By the way, I did not call you names, but you are a bigot. It is your opinion that “homosexuality is a sexual deviance in the same class as pedophilia.” Bigot is precisely the right word for that. Intolerant and extremist are other good and precise words to describe your perspective.

  2. Ermine Moreau-Sipiere says:

    Hum, I do not agree totally with you Erika and I do not agree totally with you James, I agree only on some points but will not describe them here to not prolongate the discussion about this difficult subject.. The two of you seem a little extreme in your words.

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