I just received this press release from The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) and needed to share it with you:
March 30, 2011 -The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA), an Illinois statewide LGBTQ Civil Rights advocacy and political organization, has been closely monitoring a bill that would create a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Illinois. We are pleased to announce that the bill has effectively been killed for this legislation session. Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment SC0016 would have amended the Illinois Constitution to say, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in Illinois." Today, the proposed legislation was moved to a subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments that has no members assigned to it. This move, by Senate President John Cullerton, has effectively killed the bill prior to legislative deadlines.
"Both houses of the Illinois General Assembly have until mid-April to exchange their passed bills to the other chamber of the General Assembly. After that date, if the bill is not out of chamber it is basically dead for the year and has to be reintroduced next year," said Andrew Kretschmar, Political and Policy Coordinator for The Civil Rights Agenda. "That does not mean there is not a risk of anti-gay legislation being introduced later in the year through a shell bill procedure, but that is unlikely with a pro-Civil Rights leader like Senate President John Cullerton leading the Senate."
"Similar bills have been introduced over the past few years and we rarely see movement. This year after it was assigned to a committee, we started watching this bill vigilantly. We are encouraged by the Senate action today," stated Lowell Jaffe, Political and Policy Director of The Civil Rights Agenda.
The Civil Rights Agenda has had a team working consistently in Springfield since October 2010. TCRA's Legislative team has been working on a number of initiatives this year, including stopping SB 1993, which would have allowed religion-based adoption agencies to discriminate in their placement practices, and monitoring and stopping both the Senate and House versions of the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
"We are fighting for the lives of LGBTQ people throughout Illinois," said Anthony Martinez, Executive Director of The Civil Rights Agenda. "Gaining the protections civil unions provide was an exciting and historic moment, but that put us on high alert this year. Opponents of equality will stop at nothing to ensure that we do not gain ground. That is why we have had a vigorous defense strategy in place, and why we continue to ensure that we have a highly visible presence in Springfield."