Published: 2013-02-15

Gay Marriage in Illinois

Illinois (where I grew up and lived most of my life) has moved one step closer to legalizing gay marriage. This is a big deal. I view gay marriage as one of the defining civil rights issues of this generation. What I find sad is the pathetic and bigoted arguments against it. A few examples:

Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, said the changes represent a "danger" because it will "abrogate the mission of the church." He contended church officials who fear what will happen because of the law will pull back their outreach efforts.

Frankly, if a church stops doing outreach because of an extension of civil rights, I say good riddance. I don't really want churches like that reaching out and poisoning people with their bigotry. But more generally, is he really suggesting that we should, more or less, negotiate with what amount to terrorists? If churches are holding something of value hostage (outreach efforts, which, at least in theory, their religion tells them to engage in) contingent on some policy decision then how is that any different than a terrorist who demands the release of a prisoner or some other concession?

Another gem:

"We're knocking down one of the basic foundations of society," Bivins said.

How is marriage, as we practice it today, a "basic foundation" of society? That doesn't make any sense. The meaning of marriage, as well as the practices surrounding the institution have changed dramatically through history, and not just recently. Society survived those changes, it will survive this one.

I hope the Illinois House follows the Senate in expanding civil rights for everyone in Illinois.