In Illinois, the Democratic-controlled legislature allowed a November 30th deadline to pass on Civil Union legislation, with no action except for postponing the deadline. In New York, the NY State Senate finally allowed same-sex marriage to come for a vote, and then voted it down. Below is a post by a Green Party member from Illinois, and then a post on the New York situation from onthewilderside.com.
Patrick F. Kelly is a political activist, a member of the Illinois Green Party, which proudly supports marriage equality, and a resident of Wheaton, IL
Illinois Democrats put off LGBT rights…again
by Patrick F. KellyGays and lesbians can go ahead and scratch Civil Unions off their holiday wish list this season, as a Nov. 30 deadline for moving on Civil Unions legislation passed with almost no action by the Democratic-controlled Illinois legislature — except to create a new deadline nearly half a year away.The fact that the deadline was missed comes as no surprise, considering the state legislature has been adjourned for weeks and is not scheduled to meet again until Jan. 12. Still, this is just one more turn in a complex holding pattern the state Democrats have locked this bill into.The Nov. 30 deadline was set near the end of the Spring legislative session. For months prior to that, the state House had sat on HB2234, a Civil Unions bill proposed by Rep. Greg Harris, an openly gay Democrat serving Chicago’s North Side.
Then all the sudden on May 26, there was a political earthquake in California. The California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, a controversial ballot initiative that banned gay marriage in the state. Gays and lesbians throughout the nation were stunned, frustrated, even angry. In Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, the heart of Chicago’s gay community, protesters gathered on the streets and demanded justice.
The Illinois state legislature responded to the outrage, not by real action to promote equality, but by moving quickly to pacify their LGBT political and fundraising base. They used a little legislative sleight-of-hand that created the convincing illusion of movement on the Civil Unions bill without actually doing anything to further the cause. House Democrats took the language in Harris’ stalled Civil Unions bill and inserted it as an amendment into a totally unrelated bill (SB1716, amendment 1) that had already passed the Senate. Then they passed the bill out of committee.The end result was a bill that had gone no further than the original bill introduced by Harris. But to the casual observer it might appear that the bill was really moving, and may in fact be near passage. And in the days following the Prop 8 decision, right up until the May 31 end of the legislative session, the paper-shuffling and busywork on the bill continued, furthering the illusion of progress.The fact is, though, like HB2234, SB1716 would still have to be approved by votes in the full House and the full Senate, as well as get the signature of the governor before becoming law. After a whirlwind of activity, the two bills ended up at exactly the same station in the legislative process and both were nowhere near passage.
And as the legislative session drew to a close, with the LGBT community still burning with rage, Democratic leaders could not simply let the bill die with the end of the session. So they extended the deadline for passage to Nov. 30, leaving open the slim possibility that the legislature might address the issue in the Fall “veto” session. But the session ended weeks ago, Thanksgiving came and went, and so has the Nov. 30 deadline for Civil Unions.And although they won’t get Civil Unions, the Illinois Democrats were sure to not leave the gay community empty handed this holiday season.What did the gay community get in lieu of rights? Another rain check. The deadline for the legislation has now quietly been extended yet again to April 30, 2010 — a date much closer to April Fool’s Day than Gay Pride Day.After all, in a 2010 election year when the Democrats are likely to lose seats, a year when they are getting hammered on fiscal issues as well as corruption, are they really going to take risks on controversial social issues? Are they really going to put your rights ahead of their re-election prospects?
Kimberly Wilder is a contributor at Independent Political Report, and a co-founder/co-blogger at onthewilderside.com:
Which 8 Democrats voted against same-sex marriage?
posted at onthewilderside by Kimberly Wilder
(excerpt from) Time Union
Gay rites still illegal
Same-sex marriage bill weighed for the first time in the state Senate but fails by 14 votes
By IRENE JAY LIU / Thursday, December 3, 2009
“ALBANY — The state Senate has voted 38-24 to reject a bill to legalize gay marriage in the Empire State…
Every one of the Senate’s 30 Republican members voted against the bill, as well as eight Democrats — Sens. Ruben Diaz Sr. of the Bronx; Joseph Addabbo, Shirley Huntley, Hiram Monserrate and George Onorato of Queens; Carl Kruger of Brooklyn; Darrel Aubertine of the North Country; and William Stachowski of Buffalo…”
KW: Please note that Hiram Monserrate is the Democrat who helped with the NY State Senate Coup. And, Monserrate is the one who was said to have committed domestic violence against his girlfriend, and was convicted of misdemeanor assault. I hope that even Democrats have the good sense to get rid of him in the primary and/or general election.
I couldn’t even sort out the details, but the same-sex marriage issue was a big part of the wheelings and dealings with the NY State Senate coup earlier this year. There is a background story about it at the Time Union: here. Needing the support of Democratic elected officials on the same-sex marriage issue was also a reason that various non-profit and advocacy groups had given the Green Party as to why they must endorse Democrats, and not our candidates, in previous NY State races.
The elected officials in the NY State Senate who voted AGAINST same-sex marriage were:
Every Republican NY State Senator
Ruben Diaz Sr. (Democrat)
Joseph Addabbo (Democrat)
Shirley Huntley (Democrat)
Hiram Monserrate (Democrat)
George Onorato (Democrat)
Carl Kruger (Democrat)
Darrel Aubertine (Democrat)
William Stachowski (Democrat)
Please also note that the Green Party supports making same-sex marriage legal. Former Green Party Mayor of New Paltz Jason West, and former Green Party Deputy Mayor of New Paltz Rebecca Rotzler both performed same-sex marriage ceremonies, and advocated for fairness in the matter.
The 2006 Green Party Governor candidate, Malachy McCourt, had this to say on same-sex marriage:
“In times of conflict, the state tells us we can hate various enemies and use vicious perjorative terms to describe them, ie: Japs, Nips, Krauts, Huns, Wops, Guineas. Now, the courts are telling us who we may love and contract with on our own private terms.
There is no record of a marriage contract between Adam And Eve or Mr. and Mrs. Lot of Sodom and Gommorra fame. So, we don’t know if having children is their prime motive in hanging out together, or did they just like each other’s company with a bit of sex thrown in for comfort on a cold night?
In any case its not the state’s business who we love and marry, so long as its two consenting adults, contracting to spend time with each other, as long as they want, without nine robed justices crowded into the bedroom, noting the action and passing judgement on why they love each other, and how they express it. Let the people love.” – Malachy McCourt