Will Gays Wed Here? California Ruling Will Affect Illinois
Beery, David, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: David Beery Daily Herald Political Editor
Either way you look at it, California's Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage will have an impact in Illinois.
Advocates say it will spur efforts to legalize the same here in Illinois; opponents say they will try again to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriages.
"Look back to 2004 and you'll see how Massachusetts' (legalization of gay marriage) was the catalyst for 11 more states to amend their constitutions," David Smith, of the Glen Ellyn-based Illinois Family Institute, said Friday. "It created a significant backlash, and this will, too."
But Camilla Taylor, senior staff attorney for Lambda Legal in Chicago, said the California ruling demonstrates "the inevitability that we will achieve full recognition of the right to marry for all Americans."
California's high court ruled Thursday that the state has no legal grounds on which to bar same-sex marriage. The majority opinion in the 4-3 ruling stated civil unions or domestic partnerships - anything short of marriage - are not full civil rights. Gay marriage opponents in California are organizing quickly for a state constitutional ban.
Currently, Massachusetts is the only state that recognizes gay marriage. Some U.S. couples go to Canada for same-sex weddings, in part because Massachusetts law discourages out-of-state residents. Beyond that, said Andy Thayer, co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network in Chicago, "Canada passed this without the ridiculous drama you see here. I have found Canada to be much more accepting of gays and lesbians."
In Illinois, a law pushed in the mid-1990s by former state Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, an Inverness Republican at the time, defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman.
In 2005, when the General Assembly passed and Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed a law banning sexual-orientation discrimination in such matters as employment and housing, opponents said it would become a stepping stone toward same-sex marriages. …