Illinois Gay Unions Challenged in Push for Constitutional Amendment

Illinois sees its civil unions law take effect on Wednesday whereby same-sex couples will be able to access all the state-sanctioned rights of marriage, but anti-gay groups announced last week that they will be working to put the issue of gay unions before voters in a 2012 referendum.

From On Top Magazine:

At a Friday rally in downtown Chicago that got started at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, opponents rallied against the law and launched a petition drive to constitutionally ban gay marriage.

“The civil unions bill has been shoved down our throat without the people having a chance to vote on it,” Richard Walsh of Americans for Life told Chicago ABC affiliate WLS-TV.

“We’re announcing an advisory referendum petition to put on the ballot in 2012 to call on the legislature to pass a binding marriage amendment which would protect marriage — the definition between one man and one woman,” said Americans for Truth about Homosexuality President Peter LaBarbera.

“There’s a battle between gay rights and religious freedom. We want to give Illinois voters the same opportunity other states have had. Whether they are red or blue, states seem to go the same way,” LaBarbera told the Chicago Tribune.

It would appear that not only would the ban prevent same-sex marriage but, like some other constitutional bans, may go further to deny same-sex couples the ability to access any marriage-like institution and rights.

Such pervasive bans have been questioned as constitutionally suspect in the past.

Also, while Mr. LaBarbera cites that voters have always traditionally denied gay marriage at the ballot whether the state is red or blue, marriage-like unions have faired slightly better such as in Washington where a broad domestic partnership law was approved by voters in 53.15% to 46.85% vote in 2009.

The margin by which gay marriage has been denied at the ballot has narrowed considerably in recent years too and so success is certainly not assured, especially when a large proportion of Illinois citizens favor civil unions — and what is more, a greater proportion may feel it unjust to take away civil unions at the 2012 ballot given that, by that time, the law will have been in place for over a year.


Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to brainchildvn.


Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Sharon C.

How does denying equal rights to all citizens "Protect Marriage"? Divorce and affairs destroy marriages, not other people wanting to celebrate marriage with the ones they love.

Lynne B.
Lynne Buckley6 years ago

The ignorance of the anti-gay idiots is very depressing. Living in a world so full of judgement, intolerance and bigotry must be a very dark place. It's amazing how their 'religious freedom' is being challenged by 'gay rights'. What about the freedom to choose to marry the partner that you love and want to spend your life with? There is no such thing as religious freedom when you attach it to such intolerance.

Brenda Gilbert
Brenda Gilbert6 years ago

It's so clear! EVERYONE should have equal rights. No further discussion!!!
I echo Thomas A's comment - no-one has asked us to vote on heterosexual rights to marriage.
How wonderful that the woman who challenged the inter-racial marriage ban should be called "Loving". So very appropriate. Doesn't she have a gay son or lesbian daughter with the same surname who could take up this cause?! We need a great deal more "loving" in this debate. If the legislators and religious opponents to gay marriage were more "loving" they wouldn't hesitate in seeing that who you love is far less important than the fact that you love. We all simply need to love more and the problems of the world would be solved so much more easily.
Love to you all.

Amanda M.
Amanda M6 years ago

All same-sex couples are asking for is the right to LEGALLY marry and have the same LEGAL benefits that are granted to hetero couples upon marriage without having to spend a ton of money and time jumping through individual hoops to get them. How is that "shoving gay marriage down everybody's throats?"

It's NOT, stupids!

And these mental furballs claim to be FOR family values? I think not.

Kerry E.
Kerry E.6 years ago

to me this is all ignorent to me and people should just except it.Like or not but leave the people alone about there sexual lives.

Thomas A.
Thomas A.6 years ago

""The civil unions bill has been shoved down our throat without the people having a chance to vote on it," Richard Walsh of Americans for Life told Chicago ABC affiliate WLS-TV."

Excuse me, you have NO right to vote on others rights! When we are given the right to vote on your marriage rights or divorce rights, then we can talk.

John Bauer
Past Member 6 years ago


Arielle Black-Foley

Lets hope that the civil unions remain intact.

Ron S.
Ron Samuels6 years ago

Freedom of Religion is the freedom to practice your own religion and let others practice theirs, or not. It grew out of the intolerant quasi-theocratic origins of some of the colonies and was fostered by Enlightenment thinking on the part of many Founding Fathers, which was suspicious of imposing religious beliefs by laws.