Despite last night’s win before an Illinois Senate committee, activists say that they will take the marriage equality fight to the next session of the legislature. Via press release from Equality Illinois:
Today, the movement for marriage equality achieved a milestone victory, with the adoption of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act by the Senate Executive Committee. This was the first step of many. Today’s victory builds on all the work we have done, adds to the momentum that the supporters have created, and puts us in great position to advance the freedom to marry in the coming months. With just a handful of days remaining in the current lame duck session, time to move the bill through both chambers is not on our side. So we will act in the new General Assembly that convenes next week, on Wednesday, January 9.
“We have come so far. Just to be able to witness the historic public debate over the desire of all loving, committed couples to be able to marry in Illinois is a major accomplishment. And with the landmark action by the Senate Executive Committee in favor of the bill, for the first time ever an Illinois legislative body voted to extend the freedom to marry. Never before has the issue gone this far in the Illinois legislature,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest LGBT advocacy organization. “Our opponents should not believe they have turned the tide against the growing national and Illinois consensus favoring marriage equality. The clock simply ran out, and our legislative supporters ran out of time,” he said.
The above release closes by noting the expectation that “the new Illinois House and Senate are considered to be more supportive of LGBT issues.”
UPDATE: Another activist group, the Civil Rights Agenda, thinks this is the wrong call.
“What I have learned—and I have been down here [in Springfield] for 20 years, and I have worked things—is that on every piece of legislation I have worked on, there are dark times, when you think it’s not going to go. You push forward, and you stand firm, you move and move until you can’t move any more. To throw in the towel now is a stupid maneuver. TCRA is here, and we’ve been here for past three years, and we knew nothing about this decision until we saw the press release.”