WBEZ | same-sex marriage http://www.wbez.org/tags/same-sex-marriage-0 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Kentucky clerk Kim Davis had a secret meting with the Pope http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-09-30/kentucky-clerk-kim-davis-had-secret-meting-pope-113128 <p><p>A Kentucky clerk who went to jail for defying a federal court&rsquo;s orders to issue same-sex marriage licenses says she met briefly with the pope during his historic visit to the United States.</p><p>The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, didn&rsquo;t deny the encounter took place but said Wednesday in Rome that he had no comment on the topic.</p><p>Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and her husband met privately with Pope Francis on Thursday afternoon at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., for less than 15 minutes, said her lawyer, Mat Staver.</p><p>&ldquo;It was really very humbling to even think that he would want to meet me or know me,&rdquo; Davis said in an interview with ABC.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img a="" alt="" at="" award="" class="image-original_image" conference="" cost="" council="" d.c.="" duggan="" family="" in="" james="" last="" lawler="" of="" research="" reuters="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/KimDavis2.jpg" style="height: 352px; width: 540px;" title="Kentucky's Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis speaks after receiving the &quot;Cost of Discipleship&quot; award at a Family Research Council conference last week in Washington, D.C. (James Lawler Duggan/Reuters /Landov)" week="" /></div><p>Davis, an Apostolic Christian, spent five days in jail earlier this month for defying a federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In a telephone interview late Tuesday, Staver would not say who initiated the meeting with the pope or how it came to be, though he did say that Vatican officials had inquired about Davis&rsquo; situation while she was in jail. He declined to name them.</p><p>&ldquo;He told me before he left, he said `stay strong.&rsquo; That was a great encouragement,&rdquo; Davis said of the pope during the ABC interview. &ldquo;Just knowing that the pope is on track with what we&rsquo;re doing and agreeing, you know, it kind of validates everything.&rdquo;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/09/30/kentucky-clerk-kim-davis-pope" target="_blank"><em> via Here &amp; Now and The Associated Press</em></a></p></p> Wed, 30 Sep 2015 13:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-09-30/kentucky-clerk-kim-davis-had-secret-meting-pope-113128 Kentucky clerk continues to defy high court on marriage http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-09-01/kentucky-clerk-continues-defy-high-court-marriage-112795 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kentuckyclerk.jpg" style="height: 378px; width: 540px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;" title="Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, right, talks with David Moore following her office’s refusal to issue marriage licenses at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. Although her appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied, Davis still refuses to issue marriage licenses. (Timothy D. Easley/AP)" /></div><p>Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis continued to refuse to issue marriage licenses this morning, just hours after the Supreme Court ruled that she could not be exempted for doing so. She stopped issuing the licenses after the high court legalized same-sex marriage across the country in June.</p><p>Now critics of Davis are calling for the district judge to hold her in contempt of court, which could mean fines or jail time.&nbsp;Ryland Barton&nbsp;of&nbsp;Kentucky Public Radio has been&nbsp;<a href="http://wfpl.org/rowan-county-clerk-still-refusing-issue-marriage-licenses/" target="_blank">covering the story</a>&nbsp;and joins&nbsp;Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s Robin Young with details.</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/09/01/kentucky-clerk-marriage-licenses" target="_blank">Here &amp; Now</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 01 Sep 2015 14:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-09-01/kentucky-clerk-continues-defy-high-court-marriage-112795 Morning Shift: SCOTUS votes 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-06-26/morning-shift-scotus-votes-5-4-favor-same-sex-marriage-112263 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/bdollproject.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/212098809&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">SCOTUS votes 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">The Supreme Court of the United States votes in favor of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-court-rules-all-states-must-license-and-recognize-same-sex-marriages-112259">same-sex marriage for all 50 states</a>. We cover the the 5-4 Friday ruling and get a legal analysis from Mary Anne Case, an Arnold I Shure professor of law the University of Chicago Law School.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>Mary Anne Case is</em><em>&nbsp;an Arnold I Shure professor of law the <a href="https://twitter.com/UChicagoLaw">University of Chicago Law School.&nbsp;</a></em></p></p> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 11:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-06-26/morning-shift-scotus-votes-5-4-favor-same-sex-marriage-112263 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