Illinois Legalizes Gay Marriage
Illinois has become the 16th US state to achieve LGBT marriage equality after the state’s Democrat governor signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage on Wednesday.
The Chicago Tribune reports Gov. Pat Quinn signed the historic legislation at the University of Illinois at Chicago on an historic piece of furniture– the desk Abraham Lincoln used to write his first inaugural address in 1861.
“In the very beginning of the Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln of Illinois said that our nation was conceived in liberty,” Quinn proclaimed a day after the 150th anniversary of the seminal speech. “And he said it’s dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, and that’s really what we’re celebrating today.”
“It’s a triumph of democracy,” the governor added.
“There is no straight or gay marriage in Illinois,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared. “There is only marriage.”
More than 2,000 jubilant supporters hugged, kissed, cried and waved miniature Illinois-shaped rainbow flags. LGBT Illinoisans and equality advocates hailed the news.
“We’re finally safe and protected in our home state; we’ll have the same protections that our straight friends do,” Mary Anderson of Oak Park told the Tribune. Anderson and her wife Jan Arnold, who were legally wed in neighboring Iowa, brought their 8-year-old son along to witness the governor’s historic bill signing.
“We have never wanted special rights or extra rights,” Patrick Bova, who will finally be able to marry Jim Darby, his partner of 50 years, told the Advocate. Bova said that for him, marriage equality meant, among other things, that he’s now eligible to be buried next to Darby, a Korean War veteran, in Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in suburban Elwood.
Not all Illinois residents welcomed the prospect of LGBT marriage equality.
“Freedom of speech is gone, freedom of religion is gone,” Pat McManus, pastor of the non-denominational Christian church Kingdom Impact Center, told WBEZ radio. McManus added that he doesn’t trust the law’s provision protecting churches’ rights to refuse to marry same-sex couples.
“I don’t believe what they say,” McManus told WBEZ radio. “I believe that’ll change down the road. Because once everything begins to start, it’s going to begin to erode all the way down.”
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