In Illinois, there is a great deal of recrimination being bandied about over the failure of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act in the Illinois House of Representatives. A great deal of blame is being placed on House Speaker Michael Madigan despite the fact that there was also a great deal of chaos and confusion in the efforts by the LGBT groups to push the bill’s passage.
Unfortunately, this could end up hurting Lisa Madigan, the current Attorney General and the daughter of Speaker Madigan. AG Madigan is considering a primary challenge against the current governor in 2014. It is believed that up to ten percent of the vote in that election will be from the LGBT Community.
Policy director for the Civil Rights Agenda Rick Garcia noted that there is an “unbelievably huge animosity” right now in the LGBT community towards Speaker Madigan whom they blame for not rounding up enough votes for the passage of the same-sex marriage bill.
Still, Garcia noted that “Generally speaking, the gay community really, really likes” AG Madigan. He has, in the past, praised her for her accessibility, her appearances at LGBT events and her support for marriage equality.
Still, Garcia added that “But at this point in time, with what happened in the last month, that is coloring people’s perceptions, and they want to punish the speaker, and what better way to punish the speaker than to go after the daughter? That’s the sense of some folks. I think she absolutely can survive that. But I think it’ll be very difficult.”
For his part, Garcia and TCRA have made it clear that they blame, at least in part, the decisions by the Illinois LGBT groups to exclude local involvement in trying to push the bill.
Support for the bill came from not only Governor Pat Quinn, but from President Barack Obama himself.
Still, Garcia is realistic that there might be some lingering animosity towards the Madigans if the same-sex marriage bill does not come up for a vote in the near future. Garcia said “Up until last month, there might have been a slight edge within the [LGBT] community for Lisa, frankly, because people really, really like her. But because there wasn’t a vote and people are blaming the speaker, there’s some residual that hurts her. It’s not huge, but I think Gov. Quinn has the edge there, speaking now, early June.”
It should be noted, though, that AG Madigan is currently arguing in court that the prohibition on same-sex marriage in Illinois is unconstitutional. AG Madigan is considering a run against both Quinn and former White House Chief of Staff William Daley next year. Natalie Bauer, a spokeswoman for AG Madigan’s office, stated “As everyone in the LGBT community knows, [Attorney General] Madigan has long been a vocal advocate in the fight for equal rights.”
Bauer went on to say that “Throughout the last session, she worked closely with Rep. Harris to push for passage of the equal marriage bill, and in the final days of session, she spent many hours working the phones urging ‘yes’ votes. Like other longstanding supporters, she was very disappointed that the measure didn’t have 60 votes to pass, but she is committed to continuing this fight.”