Still on my high horse from the gay communities' win of the Prop 8 judgment in California, I opened up the RedEye, and the first article that caught my attention was, "Poll: Chicago split on legalizing gay marriage." My immediate response, 'WTF?!?'
The overall opinion on legalizing same-sex marriage, when city respondents are factored in, is split: 42 percent oppose it, 42 percent support it and 15 percent have no opinion. The Market Shares Corp. telephone poll of 800 male and female heads of household from the six-county Chicago area has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. And, the Tribune/WGN poll, 46 percent of suburban residents said they oppose legalizing same-sex marriage, while 40 percent approve and 14 percent have no opinion. The Tribune also reports that Chicagoans on civil unions -- which provide same-sex couples with many of the same legal rights as marriage -- the results switch: 54 percent of suburban residents favor legalizing same-sex civil unions, compared with 33 percent who would oppose such a law. When city residents are included, the results remain nearly the same.
In the piece, Debra Williams, of Bellwood, opposes same-sex marriage, believes civil unions should be allowed.
"I think marriage should be a term reserved for heterosexuals," Williams said. "But civil unions, which are legally binding in every single way like marriage, should be allowed for any couple that wants them."
So, maybe it's the word "marriage" that throws people off?!? I'm cool with accepting the term "civil unions" as the proper term for "gay marriage." I'll take it. But, it seems, the Chicago poll falls largely in line with national opinions on gay marriage; which is a huge surprise to me. For some strange reason, I thought Chicago, like New York and California, were way more progressive in their thoughts on gay marriage. Apparently, their is a lot of work still to be done.
I'm hoping this year, Illinois, like California and a few other states, will have the balls to begin to legalize gay marriage. Come on Cook County Clerk David Orr, let the gays "unionize" and marry. Be bold and take a risk. I'll be the first to be behind you.
On a sidenote: Same-sex marriages could resume in California as soon as Wednesday, and the judge's decision is expected to make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.