Will Illinois become the next state in America to have true marriage equality? Tonight the Illinois House voted in committee whether or not to send SB10 Marriage Fairness Act to the floor for a full vote. In a 6-5 vote, the bill moves out of committee and to a full vote in the house. If it passes there, Gov. Pat Quinn has made his support for the bill known and will sign it without delay.
After listening to the majority of the voices for and against marriage equality in Illinois in the late night meeting in Springfield, I was struck by a few things. The voices in support of the bill spoke of commitment, love, and respect. They talked about the trials they face as couples raising their families. Daphne Scott-Henderson, 41, and Ryan Cannon, 34, of Bloomington are raising three children, Sonnet, 15, Autumn 11 & Sebastian, 4. They live in fear every day that Daphne's rights as a parent will be questioned because many do not see them as a real family.
Statistic that were used in favor; According to the major mental health organizations, research finds lesbian & gay parents are well suited to rearing healthy kids just as well suited as heterosexual couples. Children fair best with two parents in a loving, committed relationship, regardless of gender of each parent.
On the other side of the issue, one of the individuals that spoke tonight was Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse from the National Organization for Marriage. Once she got through putting herself on a pillar with her lengthy list of credits to her name, she stated "Marriage equality cannot be achieved ... will introduce new and deeper inequalities in society." yet she failed to show defining proof of that assertion. She used flawed research and inaccurate examples.
She spoke at length on how lesbian and gay couples are putting children at a disadvantage, how a lesbian couple denies the rights of the biological father. Dr. Morse states that men who provide sperm to lesbian couples are not being treated equal to other fathers. Are you kidding me? This is a flawed rational. For the majority of the cases, sperm donors have no contact or involvement with the child. What this argument forgets is that many states have enacted legislation governing parentage and sperm donation. Since 1973, the Uniform Parentage Act has been adopted by near half the states including Illinois. This act states that a sperm donor is not considered the legal father of a child. Just as a heterosexual couple goes through the process of artificial insemination with donor sperm, a same sex couple can go through the process with out the male donor being considered the 'father'.
Some of the sentiment surrounding this bill is in regards to religious liberty. Let me remind you that even if someone wants a church wedding in this state,you are still required to be licensed by the state, other wise you marriage is not valid. We are talking about legal rights not religious rights. Let me remind you as well, before you throw that first stone at someone for what you believe is a sinful life, take a look at your own life and tell me you are not a sinner. God has not called you to judge, but to love as he loves you.
Some believe that this bill redefines marriage and infringes on their heterosexual marriage. Really? How does the love and commitment of a gay or lesbian couple infringe on your marriage? How does it affect your marriage at all? I have known many same sex couples in my live and can testify that they are better parents to their children than some hetro couples I have known.
Same sex couples are asking for the same rights that hetro couples have, no more and certainly no less.
"We ask that you vote yes in support of our family." Ryan Cannon
What's next - on to the floor of the House! It is time all couples in this state are treated equally.