With this week’s victory over California’s Proposition 8 and next week’s likely passage of marriage equality legislation in the State of Washington, it’s a golden opportunity to push for full marriage equality here in the Land of Lincoln.
With the wins in California and Washington, some Springfield legislators say they will now make a serious push for equal marriage legislation this year in Illinois. As they do so, we can expect that the usual suspects to loudly bray about how “unfair” equal rights legislation is, and demonize LGBT people in the process.
Chief among them will be Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George. George is already on record comparing lesbians and gays to the KKK, and repeatedly defended that insulting comparison before finally issuing what many considered an inadequate apology. The “apology” implied that he still thinks that many lesbians and gays are fascists, and he justified his blasts against us as being motivated by his alleged fear for “the liberty of the church.”
George, as head of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, spent tens of thousands backing the anti-gay referendums Proposition 8 in California and Question 1 in Maine. After the passage of the civil unions bill in Illinois, George pompously predicted, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”
As marriage equality moves forward this year in Illinois, look for Cardinal George to once again take his bigotry out from under wraps, trying to lean on Illinois legislators to vote against equality.
As a cover for this bigotry, look for him to try to play the victim role again, falsely stating that equal marriage legislation in Illinois would somehow force the Catholic Church to celebrate marriages it chooses not to.
Look for him to violate the church’s tax-exempt status by using its institutional power to advocate on legislation.
We can sit back and take it – as Californians fatefully did with the Mormon Church before the passage of Proposition 8 – or we can proactively push back against this bigotry now.
Please come to Freedom to Marry Day 2012 at 10:30 AM this Sunday, Feb. 12 in front of Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State Street, and stand with the majority of lay Catholics and others of good will who support equal rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people.
This protest was initiated by the Gay Liberation Network and is supported by the 8th Day Center for Justice, Dignity-Chicago, Equality Illinois and the Rainbow-Sash Organization. For more information, email LGBTliberation@aol.com
See you on Sunday!