WBEZ | civil unions http://www.wbez.org/tags/civil-unions Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Same sex marriage suit decision to come on September 27 http://www.wbez.org/news/same-sex-marriage-suit-decision-come-september-27-108309 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/yp.png" alt="" /><p><p>The lawsuit centers around 25 same sex couples who were denied marriage licenses. Illinois allows civil unions but not gay marriage. Tom Brejcha is with the Thomas Moore Society. He represents five downstate counties that want the court to dismiss the suit.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re here to argue the law,&rdquo; noted Brejcha. &ldquo;The law says marriage is formed for a certain purpose and it&rsquo;s not discriminatory in any sense. It&rsquo;s an affirmative thing.&rdquo;</p><p>James Darby, 81, also believes it&rsquo;s an affirming distinction, which is why he wants the suit to move forward. The Korean War veteran has been with his partner Patrick Bova for 50 years. Darby says says he&rsquo;s willing to wait another month because the right to marry is worth suing for.</p><p>&ldquo;I would like to be buried at the Abraham Lincoln Cemetery in Joliet. And I would like him to be buried with me,&rdquo; said Darby, the lead plaintiff in the case represented by Lambda Legal.&nbsp; &ldquo;Because spouses can be buried with the veteran. But that&rsquo;s not happening.&rdquo;</p><p>Judge Sophia Hall says on September 27th, she&rsquo;ll issue a decision on whether to dismiss the lawsuit.</p><p><em>Yolanda Perdomo is a host and producer at WBEZ. Follow her @yolandanews.</em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 06 Aug 2013 16:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/same-sex-marriage-suit-decision-come-september-27-108309 Durbin favors repeal of Defense of Marriage Act http://www.wbez.org/story/durbin-favors-repeal-defense-marriage-act-95146 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/gay marriage rally .jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some U.S. senators will be looking to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act this coming year. The law prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages.</p><p>Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he wants it repealed as it relates to federal benefits.</p><p>"I believe that we should have marriage equality in this country - that we should treat people fairly, that we should not discriminate against them in this circumstance," Durbin said.</p><p>Durbin said he'll support calling for the repeal to come for a vote before the Senate.</p><p>Earlier this year Illinois passed a Civil Unions Act, providing couples, including same sex couples, many of the same legal rights as married couples.</p></p> Fri, 23 Dec 2011 20:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/durbin-favors-repeal-defense-marriage-act-95146 Marriage stable despite sense of shifting values http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-20/marriage-stable-despite-sense-shifting-values-89394 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-20/4639732728_d25c4a8222_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Many people head to the beach, area pools and the city’s cooling centers amidst the heat. Another popular spot is the Cook County clerk’s office. Last month the clerk issued more than 800 licenses for civil unions in the county, over half the licenses issued across the state. Civil unions are open to all couples and many hope they signal a move toward full marriage equality for same-sex couples. But the desire for the right to marry comes at a moment when more than one-third of all Americans believe the institution of marriage is obsolete. So is marriage undergoing a radical transformation? <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> was joined by <a href="http://www.sociology.northwestern.edu/faculty/Percheski.html#bio" target="_blank">Christine Percheski</a>, a sociologist at Northwestern University, who studies family life to assess ideas of marriage in America today.</p><p><em>Music Button: Groovilicious, "What it is" from their self-titled release (New Breed)</em></p></p> Wed, 20 Jul 2011 13:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-20/marriage-stable-despite-sense-shifting-values-89394 Vandals slash tires on Gay Pride Parade floats http://www.wbez.org/story/vandals-slash-tires-gay-pride-parade-floats-88363 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-27/_MG_4721.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Gay pride supporters are recovering after tires were slashed on 51 of the 70 or so pride parade floats on Sunday. The majority of floats were being kept in a South Side warehouse that had no overnight security or cameras. And of the floats kept in that warehouse, all had their tires slashed.&nbsp;</p><p>Warehouse general manager Chuck Huser said each float had two tires slashed and there were no signs of what group or individuals were to blame. At 6am, Huser said he was lucky to find an auto garage that was open and able to sell him $4,000 worth of tires. He then recruited extra help for changing them out and getting the floats out the door.&nbsp;</p><p>But three&nbsp;hours after the parade started, Steven Sondheimer was still waiting for his float to arrive. He’s with the Chicago Housing Authority and their float was among those vandalized. Of the crime Sondheimer said, "It wasn’t about the CHA – it was about the LGBT community at large. And I think it was a hate crime." &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Sondheimer said the vandalism did dampen his spirits some, but he said "I think this will mobilize us to realize there's still homophobia in our communities - all across Chicago and all across America."&nbsp;</p><p>Still, the parade marched on as the floats arrived as quickly as was possible. All but three did not make it out of the warehouse, and a few others may not have made it into the parade. Huser said he had to hand it to the parade participants, because of the 230 or so phone calls he fielded on Sunday morning, "everyone was very understanding."&nbsp;</p><p>Mary Jane Jarvis is with the PAWS Chicago float and their tires were also slashed. Their float made it back in time to get into the parade. She&nbsp;said, "You know what, in a way it showed us that we can overcome it. You can’t stop the Chicago pride parade!”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Sun, 26 Jun 2011 23:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/vandals-slash-tires-gay-pride-parade-floats-88363 Civil unions still not OK in Indiana http://www.wbez.org/story/civil-unions-still-not-ok-indiana-87354 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-02/115061759.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Tyona Wesley says she’s happy for same-sex couples who can now join in civil unions in Illinois.</p><p>The 36-year-old wishes her own state of Indiana were as open, but Hoosier lawmakers are actually pushing hard to make sure its ban of same-sex civil unions can never be changed.&nbsp;</p><p>Wesley, who lives in Gary, says even if she were to go through a ceremony with her partner of eight years, Indiana wouldn’t accept it.</p><p>“It’s quite sad that if we were to have a civil union in Illinois that when you cross the state line it’s not recognized in Indiana,” Wesley told WBEZ on Thursday.</p><p>Indiana already has a law that bans same-sex marriage.&nbsp; But earlier this year, Indiana lawmakers approved a measure to make that law even stronger. They want to amend the state’s constitution to limit marriage between a man and a woman.</p><p>The thought is by including the prohibition in the state’s constitution, it would be much harder for future lawmakers to change it.</p><p>But before it’s added to Indiana’s constitution, it must go through several more steps – including a statewide referendum – to be made in official. The process will take years.</p><p>Still, Wesley says she longs for such a civil unions law in Indiana. And, to see Illinois same-sex couples join in a civil union is even tougher for her because she was born in Chicago.</p><p>“I’ve already talked to my partner about moving to Illinois because it makes a big difference. My partner has multiple sclerosis and I have rheumatoid arthritis. Just the fact of having the right to be in the hospital, to have the knowledge of what’s going on with your partner makes a big difference. I would love for that to be in Indiana,” said Wesley, who is the organizer of Northwest Indiana’s only gay pride parade. <a href="http://www.nwinrainbowdays.bravehost.com./">The 4th annual parade kicks off June 11 in Gary’s Miller Beach section.&nbsp;</a></p><p>Thirty-five same-sex couples participated in Thursday’s civil union ceremony at Millennium Park, including a couple from South Bend, Indiana.</p><p>Courtney Greve, a spokeswoman for Cook County Clerk David Orr, says in order for the civil union to be made official, it must be conducted in Illinois.</p><p>“For civil union licenses, the most important thing is where the ceremony is going to occur. If your ceremony is going to be held in Chicago, you must get your license in Cook County,” Greve said.</p><p>When asked if Cook County is concerned that civil union licenses may not be accepted in Indiana, Greve said, “That’s not an issue for our office. Our office is charged with issuing the licenses.”</p><p>Indiana lawmakers adopted a law in 1997 that specifically voids a marriage between same-sex couples even if it was done in a place that allows it.</p></p> Fri, 03 Jun 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/civil-unions-still-not-ok-indiana-87354 Obama administration challenges the Defense of Marriage Act http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-28/obama-administration-challenges-defense-marriage-act-83084 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/DOMA Tim Boyle Getty.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Last week, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.justice.gov/ag/">Attorney General Eric Holder</a> said the Justice Department would no longer defend cases involving the Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA is the federal law instated during the Clinton presidency saying marriage is confined to the union of a man and a woman. But now defending that law falls to Congress. To learn more about what this move will mean for the future of DOMA&mdash;both legally and politically&mdash;<em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> spoke with Northwestern University School of Law professor <a target="_blank" href="http://www.law.northwestern.edu/faculty/profiles/AndrewKoppelman/">Andrew Koppelman</a>.</p><p><em>Music Button: Botany, &quot;Feeling Today&quot;, Feeling Today (Western Vinyl)</em></p></p> Mon, 28 Feb 2011 14:18:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-28/obama-administration-challenges-defense-marriage-act-83084 Rickey Hendon, outspoken Chicago Democrat, resigns from Illinois Senate http://www.wbez.org/story/bill-brady/rickey-hendon-outspoken-chicago-democrat-resigns-illinois-senate <p><p>An outspoken Illinois lawmaker from Chicago resigned his office Thursday. Democratic state Sen. Rickey Hendon has represented parts of the city's West Side in the legislature since 1993.<br /> <br /> &quot;I have decided to call it a day and retire from this wonderful institution,&quot; Hendon wrote in his letter of resignation. &quot;I appreciate my constituents and supporters and I pray that they will accept my decision and allow me to move on with my life.&quot;</p><p>The senator is known for his spicy sound bites - which at times have gotten him in trouble - and dramatic speeches. In a recent floor debate, he spoke about a bill abolishing the death penalty, which is an issue he has championed for years.<br /> <br /> &quot;Because when you put someone to death, it's too late!&quot; Hendon said.<br /> <br /> He also gave a speech in favor of legislation allowing for civil unions in Illinois.<br /> <br /> &quot;It's not going to destroy America, it's not going to destroy our state,&quot; Hendon said. &quot;It's just fairness, ya'll. That's all.&quot;<br /> <br /> And, in an interview with WBEZ, he spoke about Rahm Emanuel's quest to be mayor.<br /> <br /> &quot;I've heard that Rahm Emanuel curses more than Rod Blagojevich,&quot; Hendon said. &quot;So let him bring his nasty attitude right on into this race.&quot;<br /> <br /> A former alderman, Hendon himself flirted with a run for mayor last fall.</p><p>Other than to confirm his resignation, Hendon did not answer requests for comment on Thursday. But he has recently complained of high blood pressure. Governor Pat Quinn, a fellow Democrat, alluded to that when asked Thursday about the resignation.<br /><br />&quot;I've always liked Rickey Hendon,&quot; Quinn said. &quot;He has a big heart and a lot of energy. I know he's had a few health problems of late, and I know he's a good man.&quot;<br /><br />During Quinn's recent campaign, Hendon called the governor's opponent, Republican state Sen. Bill Brady, &quot;idiotic, racist, sexist [and] homophobic.&quot; Hendon later apologized for those remarks.<br /><br />Hendon was deeply involved in the campaign of city clerk candidate Patricia Horton, who is currently a Water Reclamation District commissioner. Horton lost by a wide margin in Tuesday's election.<br /><br />In a failed bid for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor last year, Hendon bragged of his ability to bring home state money for his district. Some of those grants have reportedly been the subject of federal subpoenas to state agencies.</p></p> Thu, 24 Feb 2011 22:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/bill-brady/rickey-hendon-outspoken-chicago-democrat-resigns-illinois-senate Indiana gay marriage amendment clears hurdle http://www.wbez.org/story/amendment/indiana-gay-marriage-amendment-passes-committee <p><p>Republican lawmakers in Indiana are determined not to fail this time around in pushing for a state constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage and civil unions.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">On Monday, a Republican-controlled House committee approved the amendment requirement by a 8-4 vote along party lines. It now moves to the full Indiana House and then the Senate, both of which are controlled by Republicans.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">But Republicans were not the amendment&rsquo;s only supporters.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Democratic backers include state Rep. David Cheatham, who hails from the 69<sup>th</sup> district in southeast Indiana. He co-sponsored the measure.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&ldquo;Since we have a state law already, why do we need to have this part of the constitution?&rdquo; Cheatham, of North Vernon, asked. &ldquo;My view on that is this: We have laws that deal with situations. We have a constitution that deals with foundation issues; fundamental issues. This is a foundation, fundamental issue. Marriage between one man and one woman.&rdquo;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The House committee also heard from <span style="">&nbsp;</span>critics who provided emotional testimony. They included Jessica Wilch, president of Indiana Equality of Indianapolis.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a force in this state that is determined to undermine the rights of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Those rights affect domestic-partner benefits to hospital visitation,&rdquo; Wilch said. &ldquo;And now there seems to be a significant effort to change the constitution of this state to question whether the LGBT community should even reside here.&rdquo;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">This is the second time Republicans have taken on such an amendment.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">In 2005, as now, the Indiana House and Senate were controlled by Republicans. The party got a similar amendment through both chambers, but under Indiana law, amendments must pass through the legislature twice. By 2006, Democrats took control of the legislature, and the amendment stalled once Republicans were out of power.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">If the GOP prevails in back-to-back legislative cycles this time around, the measure would still face hurdles. For one, it would have to win support in a state-wide referendum. Most constitutional amendments in Indiana take years to pass.</p></p> Tue, 08 Feb 2011 04:50:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/amendment/indiana-gay-marriage-amendment-passes-committee County clerks begin prepping for civil unions http://www.wbez.org/story/cdata/county-clerks-begin-prepping-civil-unions <p><p>County clerks throughout Illinois are preparing to issue civil union licenses later this year. DuPage County Clerk Gary King and Lake County Clerk Willard Helander both said they're still waiting to see the specifics of the civil unions bill signed Monday by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.</p><p>But Helander said she's already been in discussions about creating a new electronic data file to produce civil union documents.</p><p>&quot;And, as well as we do whenever we offer new or expanded services, we will revise our website, our printed brochures, our message on our telephone greeting,&quot; Helander said.</p><p>She said the cost of making these changes is nominal.<br /><br />Helander said she suspects there is some &quot;pent-up demand&quot; for civil unions and expects strong activity during the first month the law is in effect. Gay or straight couples in Illinois can enter into civil unions beginning June 1.</p></p> Tue, 01 Feb 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/cdata/county-clerks-begin-prepping-civil-unions Quinn expected to sign civil unions into law http://www.wbez.org/story/civil-unions/quinn-expected-sign-civil-unions-law <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/AP101201049562.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn today is expected to sign a bill that legalizes civil unions. About 1,000 people are expected to be on hand for the ceremony at the Chicago Cultural Center.</p><p>Illinois legislators approved civil unions late last year. The bill would allow same sex couples hospital visitation rights and the ability to share insurance policies. State Rep. Greg Harris was instrumental in getting the bill passed.</p><p>&quot;This is a huge moment for people in Illinois and people feel that they have a lot of their future invested in this,&quot;&nbsp;Harris said.</p><p>But David Smith, with the Illinois Family Institute, said he opposes the legislation. He said civil unions could lead to the state allowing gay marriage.</p><p>&quot;Marriage always will be the union of one man and one woman,&quot; Smith said.</p><p>Governor Pat Quinn calls the legislation a civil rights issue. Once signed, the measure will go into effect June 1st.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 31 Jan 2011 12:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/civil-unions/quinn-expected-sign-civil-unions-law