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Gay alderman, partner overcome with emotion after U.S. Supreme Court ruling
When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act on Wednesday, Ald. James Cappleman (46th) and his partner, Richard Thale, didn’t know what to do first, laugh or cry.
So, they did both. Then, they hugged and kissed and rejoiced in a decision they both thought would never come.
“We’re beyond elated. This is something we did not expect in our lifetime. We never dreamed this could possibly happen,” said Cappleman, 60, who led the City Council in the Pledge of Allegiance on this historic day.
“When we met 22 years ago, it never occurred to us that marriage could be in the realm of possibility. Never in our wildest dreams. This reminds me when integration happened when I was a kid going to schools in Texas. This is how powerful it is for us. We are fully validated as a couple.”
Thale, 56, said he’s “unexpectedly excited” by, what he called a resounding victory for gays and lesbians.
“I just was prepared for it not to be overturned. I was kind of preparing myself emotionally to be disappointed. Because of that, I am just thrilled,” said Thale, a community activist in the Uptown neighborhood Cappleman represents.
When the Il. General Assembly authorized civil unions in 2010, Cappleman and Thale took advantage of it. Now, they’re making plans to upgrade to marriage–in Illinois.
That will require the Il. House to do what it failed to do last spring. But, Cappleman is certain that will happen now that the U.S. Supreme Court has taken the lead.
“I want it in Illinois,” said Cappleman, one of two openly-gay aldermen.
“Richard, who’s actually now my husband, he and I will have our civil union upgraded to marriage. We fully expect that to happen. I’ve talked extensively with State Rep. Greg Harris [Il. House sponsor of gay marriage]. It is going to happen. Absolutely.”
The Il. Senate approved gay marriage on Valentine’s Day, but the Il. House adjourned without even considering the bil.
It happened after an emotional Harris announced to a House chamber filled with gay and lesbian couples prepared to witness history that he would not call the bill because he didn’t have the votes.