Apparently some people haven’t gotten the message yet that marriage equality legislation is not dead in Illinois- at least not dead until 31 August. Showing that the LGBT Community has a tendency lately to whine and gesticulate before knowing what’s going on, a group of LGBT activists plan on protesting outside the district offices of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan this upcoming Saturday, 15 June.
The activists claim that Madigan failed to prioritize equal marriage this year. The decision to protest Madigan’s office was made at a meeting held at the Peoples Church of Chicago on 11 June. Some activists wanted to force lawmakers to be on the record over their vote regarding equal marriage rights, though none have ever actually explained what is gained by that.
Representative Greg Harris, the chief sponsor of the equal marriage act, decided to postpone the vote on the bill because it did not have enough support to pass. It should be noted that a vote on the bill at that point would have made it impossible for Madigan to sign the extension giving the House until 31 August to pass it and supporters that time to get the few remaining votes.
Andy Thayer of the Gay Liberation Network was the most critical demanding that Madigan needed “to whip his own damn caucus into line.” Thayer and the GLN are largely leading the effort to protest Madigan.
It should be noted that unlike a Parliamentary system, votes conducted inside the American political system are never done along strict party lines; thus, Madigan cannot force his party members to vote one way or the other on the bill.
There was wide disagreement over possible courses of action regarding the delayed vote with some activists wanting to punish supportive politicians for not holding a doomed vote that would have meant that the bill would not come up for at least another year.
Rep. Greg Harris hopes to move the bill either during a special summer session or during the fall veto session. No matter when it is voted on, it will not go into effect until 1 June.
The Civil Rights Agenda’s Anthony Martinez did attend the meeting and tried to explain to the assembled activists that the bill was not dead, but could be voted on at a later date this year.
Unfortunately, the protests could end up undermining rather than strengthening the overall position of the bill in the House.