What do a large group of UChicago students, Macklemore and Illinois Republicans Pat Brady and Jason Barickman have in common? They are all speaking out for same-sex marriage. A phone bank event will be held today from 3p-6p in the Harper Library for students to help pass same-sex marriage into Illinois state law.
Just slightly over two years ago, Governor Pat Quinn signed civil unions into Illinois state law on January 30, 2011. While this was a profoundly progressive step for equality in Illinois, the issue of same-sex rights remains a complicated affair. Currently, only nine U.S. states (along with the District of Columbia) recognize same-sex marriages in their state law.
California briefly allowed same-sex marriages from June 2008 to November 2008, but after Proposition 8 the state declared marriage to be exclusively between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriage supporters are hoping that California will make a final decision by June 2013.
Pat Brady, Illinois Republican chairman, recently came out in support of the bill allowing same-sex marriage in Illinois, but has received an unnerving response from the Republican Party’s central committee in the form of a potential termination from his job. Similarly, Jason Barickman stands out among his fellow colleagues as he is the only Republican state senator who has voted in favor of same-sex marriage. Though these strong government leaders are only two (so far) Illinois Republicans openly in favor of marriage equality, it is hopeful that they will inspire a progressive attitude in their colleagues.
The phone bank events have been an ongoing process over the last few weeks, but there is still time to attend today! Whether you can only dedicate an hour or three hours of your time, if you are in support of same-sex marriage in Illinois you should try to make tonight’s event. All you need to bring is your laptop and cell phone; no previous training is required. For more information, check out the Facebook event or message one of the hosts with any questions or concerns.