Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New gay marriage bill in Illinois: more political than progressive?

New gay marriage bill in Illinois: more political than progressive? » North by Northwestern:
"Although the State Senate has never seen this kind of proposed legislation, it’s no stranger to the State House. State Rep. Greg Harris has spent the last two years incessantly introducing similar legislation, but never with any success. His most recent attempt was HB 0178, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which would, among other things, redefine marriage as a union between two persons instead of a man and a woman. Since March, though, the bill has slowly been dying in committee, where it is likely to remain.

Sen. Steans has come under fire because her bill is essentially just a Senate version of Harris’ failed one. Because all of Harris’ attempts have thus far proved futile, the Senate version isn’t expected to pick up much traction either. Instead of being a legitimate attempt at establishing marriage equality in Illinois, the bill has been considered a publicity stunt on Sen. Steans’ part.

Steans, whose district includes a portion of a prominent gay community, is facing a tough Democratic primary from Jim Madigan, the first openly gay man to run for the State Senate. Madigan has accused Steans of orchestrating a publicity stunt, the Equal Marriage Act, to woo the LGBT community, an important"

Is it really all that important to nit-pick our allies? Senator Stean is taking a big leap by introducing this bill. It may not hurt her electorially, but she also may be burning bridges in the Senate to do it--she could be risking getting co-sponsors for future bills by authoring this bill. Its still a brave move.

Jim Madigan is a good guy. I wish him the best. But we don't have to question everything that Heather Steans does now--especially when she's doing us good--just because a well-known, well-respected state gay icon is running against her. Vote for whomever you choose, but applaud Heather Steans for stepping out there and doing something wonderful for the LGBT community of Illinois--as a heterosexual woman, she certainly didn't have to.

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, I'll always say.

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