Gay alderman, partner overcome with emotion after U.S. Supreme Court rulingContinue reading.
Emanuel calls U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage a major boost in fight to treat all love equally
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday he hopes the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the Defense of Marriage Act will be a “wake-up call” to the Il. House to “finish our mission” by approving gay marriage.
Emanuel said gay and lesbian couples around the state who want to build a family should be “welcomed into the American family,” but they can’t be until the Il. House approves the gay marriage bill that the Il. Senate passed on Valentine’s Day.
“I hope this is a wake-up call. While Illinois was one of the first states to enact the recognition of civil unions–and we made sure that your partner can participate in [city] benefits–let us finish our mission and be on record as supporting gay and lesbian couples who want to marry and build a family together because, when they do that, we are all stronger,” Emanuel said.
“I hope we seize this opportunity…and take the torch to what I’ve always said: It is time for us now in the state of Illinois to finish that job. I would hope Springfield would see this as the opportunity to walk through that door and recognize gay and lesbian couples that want to build a family together.”
Emanuel made it a point to note that one of the Golden Apple teachers recognized at Wednesday’s City Council meeting brought his partner and their son along.
“Who are we to stand in the way of two people who love each other and want to build a family for that child?” the mayor said.
“Here is a gentleman who teaches our children and is being recognized for his educational excellence. Yet we, as a society, say your love for your partner doesn’t meet our standards. You can teach our children, but not your own child.”
Earlier this week, Emanuel said Sunday’s Gay Pride Parade in Chicago would take on added political significance because of what didn’t happen in Springfield.
The Gay Pride Parade has long been a must-attend for prominent politicians—and a chance for the gay community to flex its formidable political muscle. This year, it will make an even louder statement, the mayor said.
“What the parade will recognize is the long journey that we’ve been [on] as a country, let alone a city and a state, towards bringing equality so gay and lesbian members, when you used to talk about them as being in the closet, can be full citizens,” the mayor said.
“They are our parents. They are our aunts and uncles. They are our brothers and sisters. They are our teachers. They are police officers. They are our doctors and our nurses they. They are our neighbors. And they are people who have a lot to contribute. The legislation would only confirm their contribution and their love for each other.”
After the November election, Emanuel ranked legalizing gay marriage as his No. 3 legislative priority in Springfield–behind pension reform and a Chicago casino—and said he planned to get “very involved” in passing a gay marriage bill.
The mayor followed through on that promise, by turning up the heat on state lawmakers in a failed attempt to put the bill over the top in the Il. House.
In an e-mail to the vast network of supporters he created during the mayoral campaign, Emanuel created a vehicle for gay marriage proponents to pressure their state representatives with the click of a mouse.
“The clock is ticking,” Emanuel wrote, weeks before an emotional State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), House sponsor of the gay marriage bill, announced to a chamber filled with crestfallen gay and lesbian couples that he had chosen not to call the bill for a vote because he didn’t have the votes.