WBEZ | same sex marriage http://www.wbez.org/tags/same-sex-marriage Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Indiana same-sex marriage proponents celebrate Supreme Court decision http://www.wbez.org/news/indiana-same-sex-marriage-proponents-celebrate-supreme-court-decision-110904 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Gay-Marriage-.png" alt="" /><p><p>Kelly Dooley says it doesn&rsquo;t take much for him and his friends to celebrate.</p><p>But on Monday night, Dooley raised his glass for a toast at a restaurant in Crown Point, Indiana.</p><p>Dooley and about a dozen friends celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court&rsquo;s inaction, which nullifies Indiana&rsquo;s ban on same-sex marriage.</p><p>Although Dooley got married eight years ago in Canada, his marriage to his husband Matthew wasn&rsquo;t recognize by Indiana -- until now.</p><p>&ldquo;This is a great day. We&rsquo;re very, very happy here with this group,&rdquo; Dooley said.</p><p>Dooley&rsquo;s friend Jacqueline Castro joined the celebration.</p><p>&ldquo;(I) Never saw it coming,&rdquo; Castro said. &ldquo;Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen, no. Not in Indiana.&rdquo;</p><p>Castro&rsquo;s been with her partner Nancy for 20 some years. She married in late June when a federal judge initially nixed Indiana&rsquo;s same-sex marriage ban.</p><p>That ruling was appealed by the State of Indiana. Her marriage, and that of hundreds of other same-sex couples, was put on hold.</p><p>That hold was dropped once the U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to hear Indiana&rsquo;s case and similar ones filed by Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia.</p><p>This makes same-sex marriage legal in 30 states and the District of Columbia.</p><p>Castro says the ruling brings a sense of security for her and her wife.</p><p>&ldquo;Now, no matter what happens to me, my partner will be secure in her future and vise-versa. It&rsquo;s no different than anybody else,&rdquo; Castro said.</p><p>But not everyone is celebrating the decision.</p><p>Just up the street at a coffee shop, Kent Lane says he can&rsquo;t and won&rsquo;t support gay marriage.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t like it. Not at all,&rdquo; said Lane, who lives in the the town of Remington, about 20 miles south of Crown Point.&nbsp; &ldquo;It just should be between a man and a woman. It&rsquo;s wrong in the Bible. It&rsquo;s wrong, period. Like they said way back, It was Adam and Eve, it wasn&rsquo;t Adam and Steve.&rdquo;</p><p>Lane isn&rsquo;t alone.</p><p>Dr. Ron Johnson Jr.&nbsp; is a local minister and head of the Indiana Pastors Alliance.</p><p>&ldquo;I think what this is a sign of is the deep moral darkness that our nation is in right now that we can&rsquo;t figure out something as something as commonsensical as the fact that marriage should be between a man and woman who can have children,&rdquo; Dr. Johnson said.&nbsp;</p><p>Dr. Johnson is also miffed that the court nullified the will of most Hoosiers who supported the state&rsquo;s definition of marriage.</p><p>&ldquo;I just get deeply concerned when we have judges who think they know better than the millions of Hoosiers who already weighed in a situation or who should be given the opportunity to weigh in on a situation,&rdquo; Johnson said.</p><p>Although he doesn&rsquo;t support the ruling, Indiana&rsquo;s Republican Gov. Mike Pence says he will respect it.</p><p>Pence urges Indiana residents to continue to demonstrate civility and &quot;respect the beliefs of all people in our state.&quot;</p><p>But Indiana Senate Pro Tem David Long, a Republican from Fort Wayne, was shocked by the Supreme Court&rsquo;s inaction.</p><p>&ldquo;It is surprising, given the importance of this issue to our society, that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to take up this matter, but instead to rely upon lower court rulings,&rdquo; Long said. &ldquo;That being said, the Court appears to have sent a message that if they ultimately do hear these cases, they will support these lower court rulings, and find that same-sex marriage is on equal footing with traditional marriage.&rdquo;</p><p>Long added an effort to write a same-sex marriage ban into the Indiana&rsquo;s constitution is also over after several years of trying.</p><p>&ldquo;The effort to amend the Indiana Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman would appear to be over unless the U.S. Supreme Court reverses its decision and ultimately takes up the matter in the future to overturn the current decision by the 7th Circuit concerning Indiana law,&rdquo; Long said. &ldquo;Given today&rsquo;s ruling, that appears unlikely.&rdquo;</p><p>Kelly Dooley knows not everyone will be happy with the ruling, but says Indiana has already come a long way in terms of accepting same-sex marriage.</p><p>&ldquo;(Attitudes) are not going to flip over night and it&rsquo;s going to be a long time,&rdquo; Dooley said. &ldquo;But I said it once before and say it again: Had I ever been asked 20 years ago that this would be like this, I could have said no.&rdquo;</p><p>County clerk offices through Indiana are gearing up for what could be a busy day on Tuesday.</p><p>There is no waiting period as judges can perform marriage ceremonies today.</p><p><em>The Associated Press contributed to this story.</em></p><p><em>Michael Puente is WBEZ&rsquo;s Northwest Indiana Bureau reporter. Following him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews">@MikePuenteNews</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 07:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/indiana-same-sex-marriage-proponents-celebrate-supreme-court-decision-110904 Morning Shift: Same-sex marriage debate heats up in corporate America http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-10/morning-shift-same-sex-marriage-debate-heats <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cover Flickr Andrea Goh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>After controversies with Honey Maid and Mozilla, we examine how companies are handling the same-sex marriage issue. We also take a look at some of the challenges in overcoming health care disparities. Plus, the Leonard Cohen inspired music of Greg Ashley.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-same-sex-marriage-debate-heats-up-in/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-same-sex-marriage-debate-heats-up-in.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-same-sex-marriage-debate-heats-up-in" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Same-sex marriage debate heats up in corporate America" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 08:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-10/morning-shift-same-sex-marriage-debate-heats Clergy who support same-sex marriage in Illinois might not perform ceremonies http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-11/clergy-who-support-same-sex-marriage-illinois-might-not-perform <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7323_DOMARallySmall%20%2818%20of%2024%29-scr.jpg" style="float: left; height: 267px; width: 400px;" title="Illinois clergy rally for marriage equality (WBEZ/Shawn Allee)" />Clergy of different faiths support same-sex marriage in Illinois.</p><p>In fact, over 300 <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/media/acrobat/2012-12/158835580-23185637.pdf">signed a letter</a> asking members of the Illinois House to support The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.</p><p>And the House did, this week, by a vote of 61-54.</p><p>Of course, supporting the Act doesn&rsquo;t mean clergy have to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies.</p><p>The bill passed this week does not require any <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/otherviews/23072883-452/gay-marriage-bill-preserves-religious-freedom.html">religious organization or leader to</a> &ldquo;accommodate&rdquo; same sex marriages.</p><p>But state law doesn&rsquo;t mean much when it comes to church law.</p><p><a href="http://www.episcopalarchives.org/Afro-Anglican_history/exhibit/leadership/tolliver.php">Reverend Doctor Richard L. Tolliver</a> is Rector at St. Edmund&rsquo;s Episcopal Church in Washington Park.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re given authority from a secular point of view,&rdquo; said Reverend Tolliver. &ldquo;But from a religious dimension we are not.&rdquo;<br /><br />Instead Reverend Tolliver and his Episcopal peers are permitted, as of 2012,&nbsp; to &ldquo;witness a same-sex marriage and perform a rite of blessing.&rdquo;</p><p>The Reverend says that includes everything but the &ldquo;contractual parts,&rdquo; the &ldquo;do you takes&rdquo; and the &ldquo; I now pronounce you&hellip;.&rdquo;</p><p>For many, that&rsquo;s kind of the meat on the bone of a marriage ceremony. But Illinois Episcopalians will continue to follow their Book of Common Prayer, which still defines marriage as a rite between a man and a woman. Revered Tolliver says that situation is unlikely to change until 2015, when members hold their next general convention.</p><p>While the Episcopal Church has taken a one-size-fits-all approach, Larry Greenfield, the Executive Minister of the <a href="http://www.abcmc.org/contents/regionalStaff/regionalStaff.html">American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago</a>, says his organization leaves it up to individual churches.</p><p>&ldquo;I can advise, counsel, urge, even come close to twisting their arms,&rdquo; said Greenfield. &ldquo;But in the end, it&rsquo;s that local congregation&rsquo;s decision.&rdquo;</p><p>There are 64 churches in the ABCMC and Greenfield says they run the gamut, from &ldquo;highly supportive to fervently against, and then everything in the middle.&rdquo;</p><p>To Greenfield, that mix reflects both the mission of his church and democratic principles.</p><p>&ldquo;The imposition of state or religion on the freedom of a congregation to make that decision would be a violation of our position about the nature of Christian faith,&rdquo; said Greenfield.</p><p>If he were asked to perform a same-sex marriage, Greenfield says he would, &ldquo;absolutely.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I am member of a faith community that believes love is the supreme reality and responsibility of all human beings,&rdquo; says Greenfield. &ldquo;I&rsquo;d welcome the opportunity to bless that union.&rdquo;</p><p>The decision is a little more complex for <a href="http://www.wpmbc.org/senior-pastor/">Reverend Dr. L. Bernard Jakes</a>, senior pastor of West Point Baptist Church in Chicago&rsquo;s Bronzeville neighborhood.</p><p>He came out in support of gay marriage in 2011, a decision he says wasn&rsquo;t at all difficult.&nbsp; But he won&rsquo;t perform a same-sex ceremony in his church sanctuary anytime soon.</p><p>&ldquo;The church would have to come together as a body and say how they feel about it, how comfortable they are,&rdquo; said Reverend Jakes. &ldquo;Because it&rsquo;s not a dictatorship. I really do engage them in the process.&rdquo;</p><p>The Reverend says he hopes they come to terms through conversation. Right now though, he&rsquo;s more focused on keeping his flock together.</p><p>&ldquo;Character assassination is going to happen,&rdquo; said Reverend Jakes. &ldquo;We are to continue to pray for one another, because we will be bastardized and demonized based upon what we believe.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href=" http://www.wbez.org/users/acuddy-0" rel="author"> Alison Cuddy </a> is the Arts and Culture reporter at WBEZ. You can follow her on <a href=" https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy"> Twitter </a>, <a href=" https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison"> Facebook </a> and <a href=" http://instagram.com/cuddyreport"> Instagram </a></em></p></p> Thu, 07 Nov 2013 14:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-11/clergy-who-support-same-sex-marriage-illinois-might-not-perform Morning Shift: Same-sex marriage to become legal in Illinois http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-11-06/morning-shift-same-sex-marriage-become-legal-illinois <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/by @bastique.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>After months of delay, Illinois is set to become the 15th state to allow same sex marriage, after state lawmakers approved the bill last night. Morning Shift is covering the story from all angles, getting reactions from listeners, citizens, and lawmakers.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-same-sex-marriage-to-become-legal-in/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-same-sex-marriage-to-become-legal-in.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-same-sex-marriage-to-become-legal-in" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Same-sex marriage to become legal in Illinois" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 06 Nov 2013 11:18:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-11-06/morning-shift-same-sex-marriage-become-legal-illinois Lawsuit challenges Illinois gay marriage ban http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-challenges-illinois-gay-marriage-ban-108298 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/marriageequality.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A Cook County judge is hearing arguments on whether to dismiss a case challenging Illinois&#39; ban on same-sex marriage.</p><p>The lawsuit being heard Tuesday before Circuit Judge Sophia Hall involves 25 couples who filed for marriage licenses in Cook County and were denied.</p><p>However, Cook County State&#39;s Attorney Anita Alvarez has refused to defend the state&#39;s ban, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. She says it violates the state constitution&#39;s equal protection clause. Attorney General Lisa Madigan has argued against the ban because the case brings the constitutionality of state laws into question.</p><p>Clerks from downstate were allowed to intervene and defend the ban.</p><p>Illinois approved civil unions in 2011, but attempts to legalize gay marriage have stalled.</p></p> Tue, 06 Aug 2013 10:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-challenges-illinois-gay-marriage-ban-108298 Chicago Pride Parade crowd tops 1 million http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-pride-parade-crowd-tops-1-million-107906 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/PrideParade2013.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago police say more than 1 million participated in the Chicago&#39;s Pride Parade.</p><p>The number is a big spike from last year&#39;s roughly 850,000. Organizers said the Supreme Court&#39;s recent decisions energized people and pleasant weather during the day helped.</p><p>A coalition of supporters known as Illinois Unites for Marriage had promised a diverse, statewide group at the event.</p><p>The annual Pride Parade took place Sunday on the city&rsquo;s North Side.</p><p>It kicked off at noon on Montrose Avenue and Broadway Street, eventually winding its way down to Diversey Parkway and Sheridan Road on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side.</p><p>The Illinois Senate approved legislation in February that would legalize same-sex marriage. But the House adjourned last month without voting on the measure, after sponsor Rep. Greg Harris said he didn&#39;t have the votes for it to pass.</p><p>But most attendees didn&rsquo;t have politics on their mind as they danced and celebrated pride for the gay community.</p><p>State politicians made an appearance despite the fact that they didn&rsquo;t call the same sex marriage bill up for a vote in the Illinois House just a few weeks ago.</p><p>Illinois Governor Pat Quinn made his way down the parade route and even though he&rsquo;s expressed his support for same sex marriage, riled up a few people in the crowd.</p><p>Erin Dunmoore from Will County said she felt like he and others were pandering to the crowd.</p><p>&ldquo;They are talking the talk but not doing what counts, so that&rsquo;s disappointing.&rdquo;</p><p>Some people in attendance were there for the first time.</p><p>Karen Enciso came from Mexico and said she was quite impressed with the turnout.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m straight, but we are individuals, there has to be no difference. Sexuality is a decision and everyone has to be free for that.&rdquo;</p><p>Alexander Roi, who has attended the parade for the last 17 years, said Illinois needs to step up and move towards equality for all.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody else is going to be doing it. It&rsquo;s about taxes, it&rsquo;s about rights, it&rsquo;s about everything equal for everyone.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Mariam Sobh is the midday and weekend news anchor at WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/mariamsobh" target="_blank">@mariamsobh</a>. The Associated Press contributed to this report. </em></p></p> Mon, 01 Jul 2013 07:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-pride-parade-crowd-tops-1-million-107906 House GOP leader in favor of gay marriage http://www.wbez.org/news/house-gop-leader-favor-gay-marriage-106550 <p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &nbsp;&mdash; A House Republican leader has announced his support for legalizing gay marriage in Illinois.</p><p>Rep. Ed Sullivan Jr. of Mundelein said Monday his position is influenced by his mother-in-law. She&#39;s been in a lesbian relationship for about 20 years.</p><p>Sullivan is the second GOP House member to support gay marriage and the first member of Minority Leader Tom Cross&#39;s leadership team.</p><p>The proposal got Senate approval in February. Supporters expect a House vote soon.</p><p>House Speaker Michael Madigan &mdash; a Chicago Democrat &mdash; has said the issue is a dozen votes short of 60 needed. Advocates say it&#39;s closer.</p><p>Other Republicans could jump aboard with Sullivan&#39;s announcement. And Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk came out in favor of gay marriage last week.</p></p> Mon, 08 Apr 2013 16:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/house-gop-leader-favor-gay-marriage-106550 Tea Leaves, Notes on Prop 8 and DOMA http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-03/tea-leaves-notes-prop-8-and-doma-106399 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7174_AP29021142819-scr.jpg" title="Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in DOMA, outside the Supreme Court (AP)" /></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>There seems to be a growing consensus that the Supreme Court will strike down the Defense of Marriage Act but step away from Prop 8, ruling that the plaintiffs in the case -- private citizens who led a public referendum to undo California&rsquo;s same sex marriage legalization -- don&rsquo;t actually have standing.<br /><br />If that&rsquo;s what they do -- and I tend to lean in that direction -- the net effect will mean that, on Prop 8, the ruling of the lower courts will stand: Prop 8 will be thrown out and same sex marriages will be legal in California again. The ruling will affect only California.<br /><br />Ruling DOMA unconstitutional will mean that same sex couples married in any one of the eight states and the District of Columbia that permit it will be eligible for all the rights and privileges of opposite sex couples -- and as the Justices pointed out, there are more than 1,000 benefits from which same sex married couples are currently excluded, including Social Security survivor benefits, military family housing, tax filing, etc.<br /><br />But here are a few other things to consider:<br /><br />* There may be no majority opinion on Prop 8. Justice Anthony Kennedy seemed torn between wanting the case tossed and not wanting to devalue referendum efforts. But some of the Justices may rule the law unconstitutional (probably Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Steven Breyer and Ruth Gingsburg), others may argue standing (Samuel Alito, John Roberts), and some may argue that Prop 8 should be upheld (Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas). If the majority opinion doesn&rsquo;t have five Justices signing it, there&rsquo;s no precedent. If the Justices don&rsquo;t rule it out on standing, this may be the only way out on Prop 8. Otherwise, the court will be forced into establishing a constitutional precedent: either there&rsquo;s a right to same sex marriage (which the conservatives don&rsquo;t want on the books) or there&rsquo;s not (which the liberals don&rsquo;t want). Prop 8 is all or nothing -- there&#39;s almost no way to narrow it down; ruling on standing avoids both of those conclusions, as does not getting a majority.<br /><br />* If the Justices strike down California&#39;s ban on gay marriage by upholding Prop 8, tossing the case, or not getting a majority, it would trigger marriage ban repeal efforts in other states. Forty-one states now ban same-sex marriage. On the other hand, a verdict to find Prop 8 unconstitutional would render all of those bans illegal without state recourse.<br /><br />* If the Justices rule that the citizen organizers of Prop 8 don&rsquo;t have standing, that the interests of the people of California can only be represented in court by elected officials such as the state&rsquo;s governor, attorney general or solicitor general, they will seriously cripple California&rsquo;s referendum system (perhaps not the worst thing that could happen, given the state&rsquo;s history of controversial, and frequently problematic, propositions).<br /><br />* Standing -- whether there is an actual adversarial relationship between the parties before the court -- may actually be more tentative in DOMA than in the Prop 8 case. In fact, the Justices appointed an attorney to argue there&rsquo;s no standing in DOMA but not in Prop 8.</p><p>In DOMA, the government has already determined the law is unconstitutional but has continued to enforce it in spite of lower rulings that agree. In other words, the Obama administration and Edie Windsor, the plaintiff, are on the same side. In the meantime, the people defending DOMA are with the House of Representatives&rsquo; Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG). Both Roberts and Scalia made a point of saying it was unprecedented for a case to come to the court in which the law was being defended by a group that had not sustained injury or, basically, had much to do with the original suit. Nancy Pelosi, the Minority Leader in the House, has argued BLAG does not, in fact, represent the House&rsquo;s interests but only that of the GOP leadership. (BLAG has racked up a a $3 million bill so far.)</p><p>If the court decides BLAG doesn&rsquo;t have standing, it&rsquo;s less clear what will happen. Most likely, there will be no precedent and DOMA will continue on the books until there&rsquo;s another case or until Congress repeals it. Windsor would most likely get her tax monies back, as ordered by the lower courts.<br /><br />* Should there be no decision on DOMA, and if the law gets kicked back to Congress for repeal, the votes would break straight down party lines in the Senate but not quite in the House. There are currently six Republicans who support repealing DOMA, and <a href="http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/doma-who-are-the-19-democrats-who-voted-for-doma-this-week/legislation/2011/07/08/23322">19 Democrats who support DOMA</a>, including two in Illinois: Jerry Costello and Dan Lipinsky.<br /><br />* The National Organization for Marriage has said that, should there be a vote for same sex marriage in either case, it will begin <a href="http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/nom-s-brown-invokes-lincoln-push-federal-marriage-amendment-we-cannot-be-half-slave-half-fre">a campaign</a> for a Federal Marriage amendment, banning marriage equality nationwide. &ldquo;We need a solution in this country, we cannot be, as Lincoln said, half slave, half free,&rdquo; said Brian Brown, NOM&rsquo;s president. The FMA has been around since 2002, when former Supreme Court aspirant Robert Bork helped draft it, but it&rsquo;s never had enough support to even come for a vote. Nothing suggests it would have any better success now.<br /><br /><br /><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 29 Mar 2013 22:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-03/tea-leaves-notes-prop-8-and-doma-106399 Co-parenting the birth certificate http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2012-01-18/co-parenting-birth-certificate-95632 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-18/395835_10150717494471110_702006109_12141549_1288749971_n.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>“Resistance to giving me the birth certificate,” I texted my wife Tuesday from the brightly lit basement office of Cook County’s Office of Vital Records.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-18/395835_10150717494471110_702006109_12141549_1288749971_n.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 359px;" title="(WBEZ/Achy Obejas)"></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">I was there to pick up our son’s official papers, vital for a million real world things, like a passport.&nbsp;</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Like they won’t give it to you?” she texted back.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Correct,” I texted.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">We’d heard a few stories of same sex couples getting the wrong info on their child’s birth certificate, but not about anyone having the document denied.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">And that wasn’t exactly what was happening. But there seemed to be a hitch in releasing the document to me.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">I’d arrived at the county offices, read a couple of chapters of a book while waiting in line, and had had a very conventional interaction until just before I’d texted my wife. I’d shown my identification (an Illinois license), and given my son’s name and birthdate to the clerk, who quickly found him on the computer rolls.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">We hadn’t been interacting more than a couple of minutes when he showed me the birth certificate and asked me to check it. Absolutely everything was in order.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Then he took it back and asked me to confirm my birth date. Except that he’d read my wife’s birthdate.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“No,” I said, “it’s June 28, 1956.”</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">He looked at the certificate. “But you’re the mother, right?”</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Yes,” I said, “let me show you.” I pulled the certificate closer to me and pointed to where it said “Father/Co-Parent.” I let my finger slide from my name to my birthdate.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Just a minute, please,” he said. He walked away, document in hand, to the far end of the counter and conferred with various fellow employees. They all craned their necks to look at me. The entire line of waiting people turned with them. There was a lot of staff shrugging and head shaking. One guy made an unhappy face.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">My wife texted, “Why?” As in, <em>Why aren’t they giving it to you? </em>Since the passage of<a href="http://%20https://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/06/01/illinois-civil-unions-go-into-effect-today/"> Illinois Civil Unions Law</a> last July 1, same sex parents have been allowed to put both their names on a child’s birth certificate.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“I’m now schooling them on law, nicely,” I texted my wife.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">And indeed, when the clerk came back I’d explained to him that here shouldn’t be an issue, that the certificate clearly stated inclusion with “father/co-parent.”</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Oh, yes, I know the law,” he said. “We do a lot of civil unions here.” And he pointed to one end of the office, as if there was a chapel or special place down there.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Are they being dicks or just ignorant of the law?” my wife texted. “Ignorant,” I texted back.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Because it was clear to me that they knew about it but were unsure how to proceed. Could it possibly be as simple as just handing me the document, without having to do anything <em>special</em>? Could it be that, in the eyes of the law, my kid’s birth certificate and the straight couple’s next to me in line were exactly<em> the same</em>?</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">In the meantime, the certificate had been passed off to a second clerk, the one who’d made the face.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Is there a problem?” I asked him as he stood just behind the first clerk, staring at the certificate in his hand as if he was waiting for it to decode a secret message.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">He made the same face, a combination of skepticism and ick. “You the mother?” he asked.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Yes, the co-parent. All the information is correct.”</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">He made the same face yet again. “Just a minute,” he said, and went to the opposite end of the counter to do additional conferring. He made a brief pit stop to flirt/help an attractive young woman on the way.&nbsp;</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Once again, the office staff gathered around the certificate as if it were a missing leaf from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Lots of scrutiny, including turning it over a few times. A huddle. A ring of heads emerging and craning and looking over at me. The spotlight unnecesarily on me. Then a quick descent back to the huddle, and everyone separating, shrugging, shaking heads. The guy with my son’s certificate raised his eyebrows in mild incredulity.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">He came back to me with it. “It’s okay, I guess,” he said, and shrugged.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">By this time, the first clerk was pretty embarrassed. He took the certificate and handed it to me. “I have three kids myself,” he said as he took my credit card for payment. “It’s important to enjoy them while you can. They grow up so fast.”</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Some faster than others but, yes, in the end, we all grow up.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Got it,” I texted my wife, and went off to do the rest of my errands.</span></p></p> Wed, 18 Jan 2012 20:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2012-01-18/co-parenting-birth-certificate-95632 Mell plans to marry in Iowa, despite civil unions bill http://www.wbez.org/story/civil-unions/deb-mell-gay-marriage-vs-civil-unions <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/gay cake toppers_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois State Representative Deb Mell says she plans to marry fiancée Christin Baker in Iowa, despite the likely passage of a civil unions bill next year.</p> <div>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re thrilled and grateful, obviously,&rdquo; Mell said about the law. &ldquo;But we really want that marriage license.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="../../../../../../story/civil-unions/civil-unions-bill-heads-illinois-senate">The Illinois Senate passed a bill</a> last week that would approve civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Governor Quinn has said he will sign the bill, which is expected to land on his desk sometime in January of 2011.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Mell comes from one of Illinois&rsquo; political dynasties; her father is 33rd Ward Alderman Dick Mell and her sister is Patti Mell Blagojevich. She is also a lesbian who has openly discussed her personal stake in the issue of gay marriage. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not even thrilled about civil unions,&rdquo; said Mell during <a href="../../../../../../story/culture/lifestyle/know-gay-marriage-debate">a talk at the Chicago History Museum in September</a>. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll be quite honest - I want access to the institution of marriage.&rdquo; Mell got engaged to her girlfriend Christin this year, and announced the engagement from the House floor.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Some gay rights advocates are celebrating the likely passage of the law, calling the bill a practical compromise in a political climate that may not have produced a gay marriage bill. Others, like WBEZ.org&rsquo;s Vocalo blogger Achy Obejas, <a href="../../../../../../blog/achy-obejas/civil-unions-some-kinda-legal">call the victory bittersweet</a>, arguing that the new law will grant gay couples &ldquo;all the rights of marriage except one: the ability to call their union what it really is.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="../../../../../../blog/justin-kaufmann/roll-call-how-your-lawmaker-voted-civil-unions">Mell voted in favor</a> of the civil unions bill, despite whatever reservations she may have had. Speaking with great emotion in her voice, she urged her colleagues to vote &ldquo;yes&rdquo; for the measure during the debate on the floor of the Illinois House.&nbsp;&ldquo;I assure you we are a family and we deserve the same rights that you enjoy,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Today with your yes vote, Christin and I can become family under the law.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Mell says she and Baker plan to marry in Iowa, where she went to college and where gay marriage became legal in 2009. And in the audio excerpt posted above, Mell explains why marriage is fundamentally different to her, her partner and their families, and shares the story of their engagement. The story is taken from her September talk at the <a href="http://www.chicagohs.org/">Chicago History Museum</a>, which was moderated by Laura Washington. The protagonists may be unorthodox, but it&rsquo;s a classic proposal story, right down to the part where she hides the ring in the crème brulee.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a> showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified's vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Rep. Mell's talk at the </em><a href="http://www.chicagohs.org/"><em>Chicago History Museum</em></a><em> took place in September of 2010 and was recorded by </em><a href="../../../../../../amplified"><em>Chicago Amplified</em></a><em>. Click </em><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/wbez/id364380278" target="_blank"><em>here</em></a><em> to subscribe to the Dynamic Range podcast, and click </em><a href="../../../../../../story/culture/lifestyle/know-gay-marriage-debate"><em>here</em></a><em> for the full conversation with Rep. Mell. </em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Correction: an earlier version of this story misspelled Ms. Baker's name.</em></div> <p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 10 Dec 2010 22:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/civil-unions/deb-mell-gay-marriage-vs-civil-unions