Tuesday, in a historic vote, the Illinois’ General Assembly passed a bill allowing for same-sex marriage in the state of Illinois.
If you have read this page, you know I am a staunch advocate for strengthening marriage. This bill, by allowing all people who love each other to marry regardless of sexual orientation, clearly does that. Sadly, I’m not excited about the bill’s passage. The overwhelming feeling I have is: “It’s about time!”
However, my passion is inflamed when I listen to some voices on the right. Some very smart people are hypocrites and they should be called out for it. As I sat in traffic Wednesday morning, I tuned into the WLS-AM morning show and I found that my passion for this bill came flooding back.
One host just called it icky (I think was the word he used). After being appropriately dressed down for his “intellectual” argument against marriage equality, the more reasonable of the two pressed his argument against marriage equality as bad for the family unit because children need one mother and one father—and that raising children is the fundamental purpose of marriage.
Because some opponents of marriage equality are very intelligent people, they should know that argument is flawed. If that is true, then the state would have to limit marriage to people who can not only bear but want to raise children. Can’t bear children? Can’t apply for a marriage license. Don’t want to have children? Get a civil union. Are you a senior citizen and want to get married? Too bad—you can’t have children and raise a family so the state will deny your marriage license. Are you pregnant or want children? You MUST get married. So that theory actually provides for more government reach over the institution of marriage.
Secondly, if the goal is to raise good kids in stable two parent households, then why do these same people not argue to outlaw divorce? I don’t think it’s a stretch to say divorce effects far more children than same sex partners with children who want to get married. Again, if the purpose of marriage is to promote a stable home for children, the people advocating against marriage equality should also advocate against divorce. But they don’t. And therein lies the hypocrisy.
Ultimately, people against marriage equality fall into two groups: those who are religious and those who are bigots (of course there is overlap). People who argue that marriage is between one man and one woman because that strengthens the institution of marriage likely fall into the latter category. Two men getting married does absolutely nothing to delegitimize my marriage. However, the ease in which heterosexual couples divorce certainly gives my marriage less value—because of the ease in which I can get out.
However, one can have a religious aversion to marriage equality and not be a bigot. Yesterday, an opponent of marriage equality, Bishop Larry Trotter said in a statement that he applauds those voting against the bill for “standing their ground in the defense of traditional marriage in Illinois. We will always believe that marriage is between one man and one woman,” he said. Importantly, Bishop Trotter continued: “We will still love the members of the LGBT community.”
And that last sentence, I appreciate. I may not agree with Bishop Trotter, but at least he preaches love and realizes we all share this world together. Look, if you have a religious view and are against marriage equality because of that view, that doesn’t make you a bigot. However, your conception of God and his love can’t create governmental policy creating rights and privileges upon some in our society while denying those same rights and privileges to others.
Back in July 2011, Amy and I happened to be in New York City when marriage equality passed the New York state legislature (on a random Saturday night). Back then, I was truly jazzed. I was excited. That city was excited—and Amy and I celebrated with the city. Even NYC newscasters tore off the veneer of objectivity and were clearly enthusiastic about the law’s passage. I was happy when Illinois allowed for civil unions—I was happy we were taking steps in the right direction. Maybe my lack of excitement this time is due to hate on the other side of this debate.
[for examples of that hate, check out Mary Tyler Mom's blog: http://www.chicagonow.com/mary-tyler-mom/2013/11/marriage-equality-in-illinois-and-the-hate-that-generates/]
But, instead of focusing on that, I must remain positive and focus on the good this law does to the thousands of same sex couples who have been in relationships much longer than my marriage now have the opportunity for our state recognize their family with the same rights and privileges that mine is provided. I should focus that the fact that Tuesday night, the President of the United States praised Illinois lawmakers for voting to allow for same-sex marriage in our state. Think about how awesome and unprecedented that is—that the President of the United States praised the passage of a bill allowing for same-sex marriage, saying: “Our journey as a nation is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” I couldn’t imagine that happening when I got married eight short years ago. So we’re going in the right direction. 15 states down; 35 more to go.
The Illinois General Assembly finally got something right. We should be proud. As a friend said on Facebook: “Love IS love people. Glad we got that right.”
Filed under: Illinois Politics