I’m happy to say my Governor, Pat Quinn, signed civil unions into law in Illinois yesterday. (He’s a Democrat, in case you couldn’t guess.) It’s not marriage equality yet, but it’s a step in the right direction.
The law, which goes into effect on June 1, will provide same sex couples many legal protections now given to married couples, such as emergency medical decision-making powers, inheritance rights, pension benefits, adoption and parental rights, and the ability to share a room in a nursing home.
For years, different versions of such legislation have been considered in Springfield, this state’s capital city, but it wasn’t until last December that supporters of the notion could gather the votes. At that time, a Democrat-dominated legislature, which included some soon-to-depart lawmakers, succeeded with a split vote: 32 to 24 in the State Senate, and 61 to 52 in the House.
The state legislature has done a lot of shitty work over the past couple years — I can’t remember the last time they did something overwhelmingly positive — but they deserve credit for making this happen.
The Illinois Family Institute opposes it, of course, but their reasoning makes no sense to me:
“Marriage was not created by man or governments,” said IFI Executive Director David E. Smith. “It is an institution created by God. Governments merely recognize its nature and importance.”
Got that, atheists? Your marriages are all shams because you excluded god from the wedding.
IFI never mentions why they oppose giving same-sex partners “medical decision-making powers,” and the “ability to share a room in a nursing home.” Why they oppose same-sex partners getting pension benefits, we never learn.
But I’d love to hear their “Christ-like” reasoning for opposing the new rights gay couples in Illinois will soon have. Better yet, let’s hear them tell a loving gay couple to their face why they don’t deserve the right to care for each other.
Maybe they never mention those things because they realize they’re fighting a losing battle when they oppose common human decency. Young people support equal rights for gay people by a wide margin. The state legislature does, too (albeit by a lesser one).
IFI can fight gay marriage all they want. By doing it, they’re only encouraging the rest of us to stand united in support of civil rights for everyone.