Gay Rights in U.S. a Struggle Between State and Federal Jurisdictions

March 24, 2009

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ACLU of Illinois

Earlier, we talked about two very different struggles in South Africa and Lebanon. South Africa legalized gay marriage in 2006. In Lebanon it's unlawful to be openly homosexual.  You would think in societies as conservative as South Africa and Lebanon's there would be powerful anti-gay lobbies. It turns out that, although Americans have far more liberal attitudes toward gays and lesbians, the debate here is far more pitched.

 

Voters in many states have passes state constitutional bans of gay marriage. The California Supreme Court is expected to rule on Proposition 8, shortly. Illinois has no such ban on the books. Earlier this month, a bill to legalize civil unions made it past committee in the state House.

 

John Knight is director of the LGBT Project for the ACLU of Illinois. He gave Worldview the lay of the local and national landscape.