WBEZ | same-sex marriage http://www.wbez.org/tags/same-sex-marriage-0 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Latina lesbians facing terminal illness celebrate life, love in wedding http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/latina-lesbians-facing-terminal-illness-celebrate-life-love-wedding-110272 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/wedding_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It was about 30 minutes before Carol Boyd was going to tie the knot Sunday. She was upstairs at the Chicago Urban Arts Society in Pilsen, touching up her makeup, while her two daughters fluffed up the skirt on her wedding dress.</p><p>&ldquo;Thank you,&rdquo; she told them. &ldquo; My daughters are giving me away, I&rsquo;m like the proudest mom on earth.&rdquo;</p><p>She took photos, then headed downstairs with her daughters and friends running lookout. She was trying to avoid even the briefest glimpse of her bride-to-be. The couple wanted to honor the traditional custom and be surprised.</p><p>&ldquo;Now we get to take exactly what everybody else gets to take, a marriage certificate, a marriage license,&rdquo; Carol said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m excited, I&rsquo;m happy, and I&rsquo;m proud to be able to do this today and make history.&rdquo;</p><p>In a hallway off to the side of the reception area, her future bride, Mae Yee, was pacing. She has a shaved head, and was sporting a white brocaded vest and a red bow tie.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m a little nervous,&rdquo; Mae said, laughing. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m getting married for the first time for real, I mean &lsquo;real&rsquo; real, this is like federal real.&rdquo;</p><p>They were about to join three other lesbian couples in a ceremony called &ldquo;A Big Queer Latina Wedding.&rdquo;&nbsp; They were among dozens of couples -- gay, lesbian and straight -- who took part in various mass weddings across Chicago to celebrate June 1, the first day same-sex marriages became legal in Illinois.</p><p>May and Carol Yee both hope the state&rsquo;s new same-sex marriage law leads to greater mainstream acceptance, but their particular wedding vows go even deeper than that.</p><p>Carol&rsquo;s a colon cancer survivor, and Mae has stage IV breast cancer. She&rsquo;s going to chemo every 21 days, hoping to prolong their life together as much as possible.</p><p>Mae said marriage means she can take care of her family financially, even if she&rsquo;s not here anymore.</p><p>&ldquo;I get sick, I can say, &lsquo;This is my wife, and these are my kids, and please let them in,&rsquo; and they have to abide by that, so I&rsquo;m very, very happy about that.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Oh my goodness, today is amazing, &ldquo; said Jessica Carillo, who organized the Latina event, which was sponsored by United Latino Pride and Lambda Legal. &ldquo;Today is a day closer to sort of being seen more equal in the eyes of our families, in the eyes of our community. For Latinos, marriage is a huge milestone. Marriage is, sort of what you&rsquo;re meant to do, to build a family.&rdquo;</p><p>Carillo said many Latinos face the twin challenges of Catholicism prohibiting same-sex marriage, and having parents who grew up in another country.</p><p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;re bringing the ideas from back home, they&rsquo;re bringing whatever those biases in the way they grew up,&rdquo; Carillo says, adding the younger generation is growing up here with new ideas. &ldquo;And so when you mix those two things, there&rsquo;s a clash.&rdquo;</p><p>Carillo said she hopes same-sex marriage becoming legal will lead to more acceptance by Latinos and society.</p><p>But even though this was a day of celebration for LGBT people across the state, Evette Cardona said there&rsquo;s work to be done. She co-founded Amigas Latinas, an organization that seeks to empower and educate LGBT Latinas, with her wife, the city&rsquo;s Human Relations Commissioner, Mona Noriega.</p><p>&ldquo;While today we celebrate these four couples, tomorrow there&rsquo;s 10 times the number of families that won&rsquo;t accept their lesbian daughters,&rdquo; Cardona says. &ldquo;In the communities of color, if you are rejected by your family, and you also experience rejection by the mainstream community, where do you turn?&rdquo;</p><p>In fact, the parents of one of the brides, Juanita Gonzalez, didn&rsquo;t attend the wedding. But she found support in her aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as the family she&rsquo;s formed with her wife, Janet Cecil. Janet has two daughters, and a granddaughter, and they all stood by as the couple spoke their vows and exchanged rings.</p><p>When Juanita broke down midway through, one of Janet&rsquo;s daughters reached out to pat her back, and her little granddaughter did the same.</p><p>The couple, grandmothers now, were best friends in high school. Juanita says she knew she loved Janet at 16. But Janet thought it was wrong for her to feel this way about a woman. They moved in other directions, but said they kept finding their way back to each other, until they finally became a couple. Janet&rsquo;s friends and family&rsquo;s reaction? Essentially, &lsquo;Finally.&rsquo;</p><p>Like the other couples, Carol and Mae Yee shared their vows with laughter and tears, the promises to care for each other in sickness and health, deep with meaning.</p><p>&ldquo;...I vow to love you with every being, even after my last breath,&rdquo; Mae said. &ldquo;I promise to cherish each moment God has given us together for the rest of our lives &hellip;&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I love you whether you&rsquo;re fat or fit, and when you&rsquo;re hurt, and when you&rsquo;re sick&hellip;&rdquo; Carol vowed.</p><p>The couple runs a charity together in their spare time called Humble Hearts, providing the homeless with food, clothing and furniture.</p><p>Carol said that didn&rsquo;t leave much for a fancy wedding with a reception, so she was grateful for the all-volunteer event in Pilsen, which was free for everyone attending.</p><p>Before the ceremony, a tearful Carol said of her bride, Mae: &ldquo;She&rsquo;s here today to live long enough to actually be married. It&rsquo;s my gift to her, it&rsquo;s me committing to her for better or worse, sickness and health. She&rsquo;s got a lot of sickness right now, but I&rsquo;m not going anywhere.&rdquo;</p><p>On this, their wedding day, there was no sickness in sight, only joy.</p><p>When the music started, they jumped out onto the dance floor with the three other newly married couples. And their first dance?</p><p>The song made famous by Etta James, &ldquo;At Last.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes is a WBEZ producer/reporting covering religion and culture.</em></p></p> Tue, 03 Jun 2014 07:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/latina-lesbians-facing-terminal-illness-celebrate-life-love-wedding-110272 Morning Shift: Activist shows another side of Englewood http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-06-02/morning-shift-activist-shows-another-side-englewood <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Englewood Flickr frankebones.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We hear what&#39;s happening on the same sex marriage front as the law officially takes effect in Illinois. We also have music from Chicago singer songwriter Daniela Sloan. Plus, a look at this month&#39;s Midwest Independent Film Festival with a movie shot in Chicago.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-activist-shows-another-side-of-engle/embed?header=false&border=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-activist-shows-another-side-of-engle.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-activist-shows-another-side-of-engle" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Activist shows another side of Englewood " on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 02 Jun 2014 08:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-06-02/morning-shift-activist-shows-another-side-englewood Morning Shift: Same sex marriage goes into effect Illinois http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-05-30/morning-shift-same-sex-marriage-goes-effect-illinois <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cover pride flag Flickr nathanmac87.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We wrap up the Illinois legislative spring session. Dennis Rodkin brings us the latest in real estate news. We look at preparation for same sex marriages in Illinois. And, the music of jazz pianist Jason Moran.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-same-sex-marriage-goes-into-effect-i/embed?header=false&border=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-same-sex-marriage-goes-into-effect-i.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-same-sex-marriage-goes-into-effect-i" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Same sex marriage goes into effect Illinois" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 30 May 2014 07:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-05-30/morning-shift-same-sex-marriage-goes-effect-illinois Judge orders Indiana couple's marriage recognized http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-orders-indiana-couples-marriage-recognized-110008 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Capture_6.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>A ruling Thursday morning by U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young requires the state of Indiana to recognize the marriage of a local gay couple. Starting today Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler are Indiana&rsquo;s only legally recognized same-sex couple.</p><p>But only for about a month.</p><p>The temporary restraining order expires in 28 days. The judge made the ruling after an hour-long hearing in Evansville in far southern Indiana.</p><p>The longtime couple who live near Chicago in Munster, Indiana, got married last year in Massachusetts.</p><p>Indiana, however, does not allow same-sex marriage.</p><p>But Quasney is terminally ill with stage 4 ovarian cancer, so they sued to have their marriage recognized&mdash;that way Sandler can receive death benefits afforded other married couples.</p><p>&ldquo;We are happy the court made the decision to recognize their marriage so she can focus on spending quality time in the days she has left with her family,&rdquo; the couple&rsquo;s attorney Paul Castillo said.</p><p>Indiana Attorney General Solicitor General argued against the injunction, stating that under current state law, the marriage statute does not allow for hardship exceptions and the relief sought could not be granted.</p><p>The decision does not affect four other lawsuits challenging Indiana&rsquo;s gay marriage ban.</p><p>Although county clerks in Indiana are still prohibited from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Castillo sees it as a positive step forward for gay couples.</p><p>&ldquo;Our goal is to make sure that same-sex couples throughout the state both have an ability to get married within their home state and have their valid out-of-state marriages recognized,&rdquo; Castillo said.</p><p>The issue of same-sex marriage remains a hotly debated issue in Indiana, although opposition isn&rsquo;t as strong as it used to be, even as recently as four years ago.</p><p>An effort to write Indiana&rsquo;s same-sex ban into the state&rsquo;s constitution failed in the Indiana General Assembly in the most recent session that ended in March.</p><p>The marriage amendment was opposed by many major corporations and public universities. &nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 16:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-orders-indiana-couples-marriage-recognized-110008 Judge allows same-sex couples to marry in Cook County starting now http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/judge-allows-same-sex-couples-marry-cook-county-starting-now-109751 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP935573141163.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A federal judge is allowing same-sex couples to get married in Cook County, starting immediately.</p><p>Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman&rsquo;s ruling, issued this morning, applies only to Cook County, Illinois&rsquo; most populous county, which includes the city of Chicago.</p><p>Coleman&rsquo;s written order says couples should not have to wait for a state law, passed last year, to go into effect. The measure passed by the legislature and signed by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn set June 1 as the date on which same-sex couples could legally marry in Illinois.</p><p>Coleman wrote, &ldquo;Committed gay and lesbian couples have already suffered from the denial of their fundamental right to marry.&rdquo;</p><p>She also quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. writing, &ldquo;The time is always ripe to do right.&rdquo;</p><p>The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit against the Cook County Clerk on behalf of a handful of same-sex couples seeking the right to marry immediately.</p><p>County Clerk David Orr was the state officer formally listed as the defendant. But because Orr supports same-sex marriage, there was no opposition to the lawsuit, and he moved promptly to announce and put the order into effect.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re thrilled that Judge Coleman recognized the serious harm to the many Illinois families from continuing to deny them the freedom to marry,&rdquo; said John Knight, LGBT and AIDS Project Director for the ACLU of Illinois. &ldquo;The U.S. Constitution guarantees these families the personal and emotional benefits as well as the critical legal protections of marriage now, and we are thankful that the court extended this dignity to couples immediately.&rdquo;</p><p>Couples in Cook County must wait a day after getting a license before they can be married.</p><p>Meantime, county clerks in the rest of Illinois are waiting to see if the ruling applies to them as well. Coleman wrote in her ruling, &ldquo;Although this Court finds that the marriage ban for same-sex couples violates the Fourteenth Amendment&rsquo;s Equal Protection Clause on its face, this finding can only apply to Cook County based upon the posture of the lawsuit.&rdquo;</p><p>Katherine Schultz -- clerk of McHenry County in Chicago&rsquo;s outer northwest suburbs -- said she&rsquo;s waiting for June 1 to issue marriage licenses until told specifically otherwise.</p><p>&ldquo;Until there is something more definite given to McHenry County, and I would assume other outlying counties, we will go by what the state statute says,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Schultz said that even if she were ordered to start granting marriage licenses to gay couples, she doesn&rsquo;t have the right state forms yet.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Alex Keefe covers politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/akeefe">@akeefe</a>.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 21 Feb 2014 12:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/judge-allows-same-sex-couples-marry-cook-county-starting-now-109751 Quinn says he will sign marriage equality bill this month http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-says-he-will-sign-marriage-equality-bill-month-109084 <p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn says he will sign legislation allowing same sex couples in&nbsp;Illinois&nbsp;to marry this month.&nbsp;</p><p>The Chicago Democrat said Wednesday the timing will depend on an event involving activists and advocates in support the measure, saying he hopes to include everyone who fought to pass it.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;I think it&#39;s important to have an opportunity for the people who worked so hard in the community to pass marriage equality to have an opportunity to be there at the bill signing,&quot; he said.</p><p>When Quinn signed&nbsp;Illinois&#39; civil union bill in January 2011, about 1,000 people attended the event at the Chicago Cultural Center.</p><p><strong>State Rep. Yingling&nbsp;proposes&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Just hours after the state Legislature approved the bill Tuesday, State Rep. Sam Yingling of Round Lake Beach proposed to his partner at a celebration at the Governor&#39;s Mansion.&nbsp;</p><p>The Democrat says he&#39;s been carrying a ring back and forth to Springfield for about a year, waiting for the chance to propose. The couple, who have been together three years and have three children,&nbsp;plan to get a marriage license as soon as the law goes into effect in June.</p><p>Illinois will be the 15th state along with the District of Columbia to allow same-sex couples to wed. It is also the third state in the Midwest to do so, following Minnesota and Iowa.</p><p><strong>&#39;America is a Journey&#39;</strong></p><p dir="ltr">The state House of Representatives approved the bill Tuesday by a vote of 61-54 with two voting present. The state Senate approved the measure in February, but for procedural reasons it was voted on and passed there again.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;At the end of the day, this bill is about the vision that the founders of our country had and wrote into our constitution,&rdquo; said the bill&#39;s sponsor,&nbsp;Chicago Democratic Rep. Greg Harris. &ldquo;They said America is not a destination. America is a journey.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The nearly three hours-long debate on the House floor Tuesday proved how divisive same-sex marriage remains &mdash; even though Democrats maintain a supermajority.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;You already have civil unions,&rdquo; Rep. David Reis (R-Olney) said on the floor Tuesday. &ldquo;You admitted two years ago that&rsquo;s all you wanted. Let&rsquo;s just leave it at that and honor the most basic tenet of our state and federal constitution: religious freedom.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP793565798873%281%29.jpg" style="float: left; width: 300px; height: 238px;" title="AP (Illinois Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, left, is congratulated by lawmakers as gay marriage legislation passes on the House floor during veto session Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, in Springfield Ill. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, top center, looks on.)" /></p><p dir="ltr"><b>Both sides lobby hard</b></p><p dir="ltr">Earlier this year, lobbyists in favor of gay marriage pushed hard for a vote before lawmakers adjourned from the spring session, which ended in May.</p><p dir="ltr">Instead, Harris gave a tearful speech from the House floor, saying he simply didn&rsquo;t have the required support to call for a vote.</p><p dir="ltr">With the bill stalled, leaders of several black mega-churches organized aggressive robocalls in the districts of black House members for months, placing the mostly Democratic black caucus in the spotlight. Many of those caucus members remained undecided until the last minute.</p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, supporters of the bill <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/advocates-work-all-angles-woo-gop-gay-marriage-108750">tried to woo Republicans</a> with fundraisers for those who would vote in favor of it.</p><p dir="ltr">Advocates credit final passage to House Speaker Michael Madigan, who called for on-the-fence lawmakers to vote in favor of the bill.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;For those that just happen to be gay living in a very harmonious productive relationship ... who am I to judge that they should be illegal?&rdquo; Madigan said. &ldquo;Who is the government to judge?&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Newly-named House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) also worked the bill behind the scenes, according to two sources familiar with the lobbying efforts.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;This is a deeply personal and emotional issue for individuals on both sides,&quot; Durkin said in a statement to WBEZ Thursday. &quot;I&rsquo;ve said all along that the individual members of my caucus must each vote for their own district, and conscious, and be prepared to go home and answer their constituents.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>State lawsuits to be withdrawn&nbsp;</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Advocates&nbsp;have also been pushing for gay marriage through the legal system. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Last year 25 same-sex couples from around the state filed <a href="http://www.wbez.org/years-groundwork%E2%80%94and-waiting%E2%80%94behind-illinois-gay-marriage-suits-99965">lawsuits</a> in Cook County challenging the state&rsquo;s ban on gay marriage. In a rare move, Democratic Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez refused to defend the state law, and Democratic Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed court papers saying she, too, thought the gay marriage ban was unconstitutional.</p><p dir="ltr">If and when Gov. Quinn signs the bill, those lawsuits will likely be withdrawn, said Camilla Taylor, a lawyer for Lambda Legal, one of the groups that challenged the state law.</p><p dir="ltr">But with an effective date of June 2014, the issue is still expected to be a factor in the race for Illinois governor &mdash; especially in the competitive Republican primary.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong><a name="playlist"></a>Listen back: Stories and conversations leading up to SCOTUS&#39; gay marriage decision&nbsp;</strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/7148059" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Note: This story has been updated to include a statement from House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.</em></p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him @tonyjarnold. WBEZ&rsquo;s Alex Keefe contributed to this report. Follow him @akeefe.</em></p></p> Wed, 06 Nov 2013 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-says-he-will-sign-marriage-equality-bill-month-109084 Supreme Court ruling ‘bittersweet’ for Illinois civil-union couples http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-court-ruling-%E2%80%98bittersweet%E2%80%99-illinois-civil-union-couples-107867 <p><p>The U.S. Supreme Court&rsquo;s move to strike down the federal definition of marriage on Wednesday likely won&rsquo;t have much of an effect on the thousands of Illinois couples who have entered civil unions, according to legal activists.</p><p>The justices&rsquo; decision to invalidate a part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as being between one man and one woman, clears the way for married gay couples to qualify for some federal benefits previously granted only to heterosexual couples.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7322_DOMARallySmall%20%2817%20of%2024%29-scr%281%29.jpg" style="height: 233px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Chicago's Gay Liberation Network hosted a rally the evening that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down provisions of DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The court also sent back a decision on California's Prop 8. The event was mostly celebratory, but organizers pushed Chicago's LGBT community to press Illinois legislators to pass approval of same-sex marriage. Josh McGrane (left) and Jihad Id-Deen came to the rally together. (WBEZ/Shawn Allee)" />But most of those benefits likely will not apply to same-sex couples in Illinois civil unions, said Camilla Taylor, a lawyer with the gay rights group Lambda Legal.</p><p>&ldquo;As a general rule, couples in civil unions are gonna feel the hurt of discrimination on a federal level, as well as a state level,&rdquo; Taylor said. That&rsquo;s because most federal laws refer only to marriage, not civil unions, she said.</p><p>Same-sex civil unions, which confer some state-level legal benefits to couples, are currently allowed in six states, including Illinois. About 6,100 couples have applied for civil union licenses in the state through May, according to the state Department of Public Health.</p><p>But court&rsquo;s decision will only apply to couples in the thirteen states, and the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriages are currently allowed, Taylor said. Those couples could qualify for certain Social Security benefits, veterans benefits and immigration status, once federal agencies sort out their procedures in the wake of Wednesday&rsquo;s ruling.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7332_DOMARallySmall%20%284%20of%2024%29-scr.jpg" style="float: left; height: 450px; width: 300px;" title="Robert Castillo, 45, of Logan Square attended a rally hosted by Chicago's Gay Liberation Network the evening after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down provisions of DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The court also sent back a decision on California's Prop 8. The event was mostly celebratory, but organizers pushed Chicago's LGBT community to press Illinois legislators to pass approval of same-sex marriage. (WBEZ/Shawn Allee)" />&ldquo;There&rsquo;s certainly people who have gone to Iowa, or elsewhere&mdash;to another state or even to Canada to get married,&rdquo; said John Knight, director of the ACLU of Illinois&rsquo; LGBT project. &ldquo;That marriage is legal but it&rsquo;s not recognized by the state of Illinois as a marriage, it&rsquo;s recognized only as a civil union.&rdquo;</div></div><p>He says those marriages may be eligible for certain benefits but they&rsquo;re waiting for guidance from the federal government to make it clear that federal benefits are provided to those people even though the state doesn&rsquo;t recognize their marriage.</p><p>That&rsquo;s why news of Wednesday&rsquo;s court decisions was met with mixed emotions from couples like Lakeesha Harris and Janean Watkins, both from Chicago.</p><p>Two years ago, the pair became the first in Cook County to get a civil union license, after being together for about a decade.</p><p>But now, Harris, 38, said she feels elated, yet distant, from Wednesday&rsquo;s rulings.</p><p>&ldquo;For Illinois, in this middle ground, this holding place...it&rsquo;s very bittersweet,&rdquo; Harris said. &ldquo;Like, we&rsquo;re watching these federal laws progress, [but] here in the state of Illinois, not so much.&rdquo;</p><p>A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois fizzled in the waning hours of the legislative session last month, when its sponsor declined to call it up for a vote in the House. The bill has already cleared the State Senate, and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has vowed to sign it if it passes the General Assembly.</p><p>But Watkins, 39, said she hopes the rulings will add some momentum to the push for same-sex marriage in Illinois.</p><p>&ldquo;Hopefully, that&rsquo;ll make some of the legislators and lawmakers see that, okay, it&rsquo;s not gonna make everything come to pieces,&rdquo; Watkins said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s gonna help economically, it&rsquo;s gonna help socially, it&rsquo;s gonna help in many different ways.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alex Keefe covers politcs for WBEZ. Follow him @<a href="http://twitter.com/akeefe" target="_blank">akeefe</a>. </em></p><p><em>WBEZ producer Katie O&#39;Brien contributed to this report. </em></p></p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 15:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-court-ruling-%E2%80%98bittersweet%E2%80%99-illinois-civil-union-couples-107867 Illinois lawmakers skip same-sex marriage vote http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/illinois-lawmakers-skip-same-sex-marriage-vote-107480 <p><p>After months of public campaigns on both sides of the issue, the sponsor of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois didn&#39;t call the measure for a vote before lawmakers adjourned from the Spring session.</p><p>&ldquo;Several of my colleagues have indicated they would not be willing to cast a vote on this bill today,&rdquo; said a teary State Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, on the House floor at the end of the night Friday. Some in the gallery could be heard screaming &ldquo;cowards.&rdquo; Harris has been pushing for same-sex marriage for years.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve never been sadder to accept such a request, but I have to keep my eye, as we all must, on the ultimate prize,&rdquo; Harris continued.</p><p>He went on to say that those on the fence wanted to talk to residents in their districts over the summer, and they would support the legislation when lawmakers returned in November.</p><p>&ldquo;They wanted to hide behind a process that allows them now to go for six months without us knowing who it is,&rdquo; said Jim Bennett, with Lambda Legal. &ldquo;But we had every right to know which representatives stood with us, and which ones did not.&rdquo;</p><p>Bennett said he&rsquo;s pinning his hopes on the legal system, not the legislative, to allow same-sex marriage in Illinois. A lawsuit is currently pending.</p><p>The decision to not vote on the bill follows months of high profile lobbying from both opponents and proponents of the issue after the state Senate approved same-sex marriage in February. Proponents recruited public relation agencies, high profile politicians like former President Bill Clinton and even retired Chicago Bears players to lobby state representatives to vote in favor of same-sex marriage.</p><p>Meantime, opponents held rallies outside suburban lawmakers&rsquo; offices who were undecided on the issue. Some religious leaders used robocalls to encourage residents to ask their local state representative to vote &ldquo;no&rdquo; on the measure. A lot of those lobbying efforts occurred in suburban and largely African-American parts of Chicago.</p><p>In 2011, Illinois approved a bill allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. Shortly after the state legislature approved that bill, the lobbying efforts for marriage began.</p><p>The state legislature&rsquo;s vote comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this year on two court cases related to same-sex marriage. One challenges a ballot initiative in California that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. The other court case is attempting to strike down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that denies same-sex married couples benefits granted to married heterosexuals.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him </em><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold"><em>@tonyjarnold</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Fri, 31 May 2013 22:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/illinois-lawmakers-skip-same-sex-marriage-vote-107480 Waiting is hardest part for those watching Illinois’ same-sex marriage vote http://www.wbez.org/news/waiting-hardest-part-those-watching-illinois%E2%80%99-same-sex-marriage-vote-107359 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/amanda and maggie.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>For months, members of the Illinois State House have been waiting to call same-sex marriage for a vote. Sponsors say they don&rsquo;t quite have the votes needed to pass the bill yet. But all that waiting has consequences.</p><p>Imagine what Chicago&rsquo;s Boystown neighborhood would be like if same-sex marriage is approved in Illinois.</p><p>Imagining is Chuck Hyde&rsquo;s job. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been kind of on-the-ready,&rdquo; Hyde said.</p><p>Hyde manages the bar Sidetrack in the heart of Boystown on Halsted Street.</p><p>&ldquo;We decorate big. Our events are big. It&rsquo;s a fun bar. And it can hold a lot of people,&rdquo; he said. &quot;More than 1,200 people, actually.&quot;</p><p>I caught up with Hyde just as construction crews were wrapping up a renovation of the interior of the bar. It has several rooms, a few bars and an outdoor patio; the kind of place Hyde is hoping people will come to to celebrate bachelor or bachelorette parties. Or wedding receptions.</p><p>Hyde was hoping construction would be done in time so he could host a celebration in case the state legislature voted in favor of same-sex marriage.</p><p>Instead &ndash; he&rsquo;s been waiting.</p><p>&ldquo;There were a number of weeks back that we thought it might be very close and we were kind of waiting by the phone. Literally, the vote&rsquo;s going up, the vote&rsquo;s not going up,&rdquo; Hyde said. &ldquo;And if it was going to happen, we were ready. We had ordered champagne, we had glassware ready. We were ready for the balloons. We had posters. We had all kinds of things. We had some signs and we were going to let the world know that we were thrilled and throwing a party. And ready to celebrate.&rdquo;</p><p>Hyde said the champagne is still in a cooler, waiting.</p><p>He said he was underprepared when same-sex civil unions passed in Illinois two years ago. The demand for a party when that passed was bigger than he anticipated.</p><p>So he&rsquo;s trying not to leave anything to chance this time around.</p><p>That means, though, he&rsquo;s been on edge for more than three months. The Illinois State Senate approved same-sex marriage in February. Since then, it&rsquo;s lingered in the House of Representatives. Supporters say they&rsquo;ve been waiting to call it for a vote because they don&rsquo;t have the necessary 60 yes votes.</p><p>As wedding season arrives, those in the wedding business have had a lot of uncertainty about what their summer will look like.</p><p>&ldquo;All of the wedding industry is following it very, very closely,&rdquo; said Beth Bernstein, a Chicago wedding planner who operates SQN Events.</p><p>Bernstein said she helped plan a midnight civil union ceremony for six couples who wanted to file as soon as possible two years ago.</p><p>But since civil unions passed, things have plateaued.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think it provided the lasting effect of the business that we thought we may see,&rdquo; Bernstein said.</p><p>She&rsquo;s seeing many couples waiting for word from Springfield before planning their wedding.</p><p>But for Amanda Marquez and Maggie Moran, waiting is not appealing.</p><p>Their Logan Square apartment has neatly organized shelves lined with books and tv show dvds.</p><p>Close by is a small pile of purple, green and blue origami paper stars.</p><p>&ldquo;So this is going to make us look really bad, really tacky,&rdquo; joked Moran. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re actually using the rainbow (as the colors of the wedding). But we&rsquo;re not going for the whole rainbow effect. So we&rsquo;re doing like half of the tables are warm colors and then the other half of the tables are cool colors.&rdquo;</p><p>Moran and Marquez are having a civil union ceremony on June 22nd. If the proposed bill passes, they could apply to have that civil union turned into a marriage.</p><p>Marquez said she doesn&rsquo;t want to wait on the government for other things, like buying a house or having kids, so why wait for the legislature.</p><p>&ldquo;Not knowing exactly when, you know, how things will go in Springfield, when it will happen, we just moved forward,&rdquo; Marquez said.</p><p>Moran said it will be heart-wrenching if same-sex marriage fails in Springfield. But she said it would be more heart-wrenching not committing to Marquez. She said that&rsquo;s too much to put on one vote.</p><br /><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://www.twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold.</a></em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 24 May 2013 14:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/waiting-hardest-part-those-watching-illinois%E2%80%99-same-sex-marriage-vote-107359 Did NBC's Brian Williams ambush the Emanuel brothers? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-03/did-nbcs-brian-williams-ambush-emanuel-brothers-106257 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen shot 2013-03-25 at 7.23.55 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><object align="right" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=10,0,0,0" height="245" id="msnbc906184" width="420"><param name="loop" value="false" /><param name="play" value="false" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640" /><param name="FlashVars" value="launch=51298904&amp;width=420&amp;height=245" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><embed allowscriptaccess="always" flashvars="launch=51298904&amp;width=420&amp;height=245" height="245" loop="false" name="msnbc906184" play="false" pluginspage="http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash" quality="high" src="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="420" wmode="transparent"></embed></object><strong>WATCH THIS VIDEO ... </strong>of NBC&#39;s <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21134540/vp/51298904#51298904" target="_blank">Brian Williams interviewing the three Emanuel brothers</a>:&nbsp;Mayor Rahm, bioethicist Ezekiel and Hollywood &quot;super-agent&quot; Ari, recorded&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2013/03/rahm_zeke_ari_on_nbcs_rock_cen.html" target="_blank">March 8 in New York City</a>.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;">Note the (evidently simulated) slide show of old family photos, the reference to the family as &quot;<a href="http://chickaboomer.com/2013/03/americas-jewish-kennedys-anger-over-brian-williams-rock-center-interview-this-is-not-what-we-agreed-to.html" target="_blank">America&#39;s Jewish Kennedys</a>.&quot;</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;">What do you think of it?</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;">Love-fest? Puff piece? Affectionate portrayal?</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;">Or hatchet job?</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;">Ari Emanuel reportedly puts it in the latter category. The&nbsp;<em>New York Post</em>&nbsp;quotes sources as saying that he sent a &quot;<a href="http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/ari_rips_nbc_for_rock_chat_Artqfqo1zvGAQEi1UZL9YI" target="_blank">a fiery legal letter to NBC</a>,&quot; complaining the interview, which aired Friday, was so aggressive as to catch the brothers off-guard.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>&#39;I THINK WE&#39;RE GOING TO WIN.&#39; </strong>That&#39;s the optimistic <a href="http://presspass.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/24/17440713-post-show-thoughts-the-debates-over-gun-control-and-gay-marriage" target="_blank">prediction of David Boies</a>, one of the lawyers set to argue Tuesday before the Supreme Court that California&#39;s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.<br />* Among those to be seated as a guest of Chief Justice John Roberts: <a href="http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-prop.8-chief-justices-cousin-a-lesbian-will-attend-prop-8-hearing-20130324,0,834185.story" target="_blank">His lesbian cousin, who wants to marry her gay partner</a>.<br />* Court expert Jeffrey Toobin: 10 years ago, <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2013/04/01/130401taco_talk_toobin" target="_blank">Justice Scalia was right about the future of gay marriage</a>.<br />* Chart outlines <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/03/24/us/how-the-court-could-rule-on-same-sex-marriage.html?_r=0" target="_blank">ways the court could rule</a>.<br />* New poll finds <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/03/24/175201923/millennials-and-same-sex-marriage-a-waning-divide" target="_blank">young Americans&#39; growing support for same-sex marriage</a> &quot;one of the biggest shifts we&#39;ve seen.&quot;<br />* Same-sex marriage convert Sen. Rob Portman&#39;s son writes in the Yale Daily News: &quot;In many ways, <a href="http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2013/03/25/portman-coming-out/" target="_blank">it&rsquo;s been a privilege to come out so publicly</a>.&quot;<br />* Politico: <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/republicans-gay-marriage-89265.html" target="_blank">Republicans see cash in shift toward gay marriage</a>.<br />* Mediaite: <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/online/r-i-p-is-conservatism-dead-3/" target="_blank">Is conservatism dead?</a><br />* Video:&nbsp;<a href="http://gawker.com/5992162" target="_blank">Starbucks CEO tells shareholder to sell if he can&#39;t support marriage equality</a>.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>&#39;WE LIVE IN A GOOGLE AND WIKIPEDIA SOCIETY, AND IF KIDS NEED TO KNOW SOMETHING, THEY CAN LOOK IT UP.&#39;</strong> And so, the&nbsp;president of the Illinois Science Teachers Association tells the <em>Tribune&nbsp;</em>Illinois is ready for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-science-standards-20130325,0,2404339,full.story" target="_blank">dramatic changes in science courses, textbooks and testing</a>, maybe as soon as this fall.<br />* Illinois bill would <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-rocky-clark-bill-20130325,0,5165928.story" target="_blank">improve medical insurance for high school athletes</a> with catastrophic injuries.<br />* Chicago Public Schools has yet to deliver on <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/18260588-761/worthless-words-cps-yet-to-dole-out-scholarships-decade-after-e2-disaster.html" target="_blank">college scholarships for kids whose parents&nbsp;died in 2003 E2 nightclub stampede</a>.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>GOOGLE ALERTS: WINDING DOWN? </strong>If you&#39;re among those who&#39;ve come to rely on Google&#39;s service to advise you of new Web content on a specific topic, be warned:&nbsp;<a href="http://mashable.com/2013/03/23/google-alerts/">Mashable.com says Alerts may be on the way out</a>, but it notes an alternative.<br />* Wish you had a Wikipedia page of your own?&nbsp;Now&nbsp;<a href="http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2013/03/24/this-site-lets-you-pretend-you-have-your-own-wikipedia-page/" style="font-family: georgia, serif;" target="_blank">you can pretend</a>.</span></p><hr /><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><em><strong>ANNOUNCEMENTS.</strong></em><br /><em>* Suggestions for this blog?&nbsp;<a href="mailto:cmeyerson@wbez.org?subject=Things%20and%20stuff">Email anytime</a>.<br />* Get this blog by email, free. <a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=feedburner/AELk&amp;amp;loc=en_US" target="_blank">Sign up here</a>.</em><br /><em>* Follow us on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/wbez" target="_blank">@WBEZ</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/meyerson" target="_blank">@Meyerson</a>.<br />* Looking for the most recent WBEZ Meyerson News Quiz? <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/news-quiz" target="_blank">Here you go</a>.</em></span></p></p> Mon, 25 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-03/did-nbcs-brian-williams-ambush-emanuel-brothers-106257