Marriage Equality Makes Steps Forward

Chicagoans rallying for marriage equality in January. The Illinois House will not be voting to legalize marriage equality. (Photo by pup ruff)

Chicagoans rallying for marriage equality in January. The Illinois House will be voting to legalize marriage equality. (Photo by pup ruff)

CHICAGO – The fight for marriage equality took a major step forward on Tuesday night with the Illinois General Assembly’s House Executive Committee voting to bring the Religious Freedom and Marriage Equality Act to a vote in the full house. The bill has already passed the Illinois Senate and Gov. Pat Quinn has already said he will sign the bill.

If passed, Illinois will become the tenth state to legalize marriage equality and the second in the Midwest.

However, that wasn’t the only action taken this week. Companies, individuals and organizations are filing amicus briefs in support of the plaintiffs of two cases coming up to the U.S. Supreme Court concerning marriage equality. The Perry v. Hollingsworth case challenges the constitutionality of discriminatory “Prop 8” legislation in California that eliminated the right for same-sex couples to marry in California. The Windsor vs. United States case challenges Section 3 of the DOMA, which excludes same-sex couples from the federal protections and benefits automatically granted to other married couples. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the cases on March 26
and 27.

“Equality Michigan is proud to be joining 27 of our colleague organizations in 23 diverse states where the laws do not currently reflect the growing support for LGBT issues. Laws like the ironically titled Defense of Marriage Act delegate LGBT people to second-class status and are not only unconstitutional, but harmful to every American. Equality Michigan calls on the Supreme Court to make the most of this opportunity to further dismantle these systems of discrimination,” said Emily Dievendorf, Equality Michigan’s director of policy.

Indiana Equality Action said that a group of 80 high-profile Republicans, including former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter and four former GOP governors, are filing an amicus brief this week in support of marriage equality.

“Indiana may be a red state, but it’s becoming clearer with each passing day that the fight for equality and civil rights for LGBT Hoosiers is not partisan. It’s about doing the right thing,” said Indiana Equality Action’s Don Sherfick, a retired Navy civilian attorney.

The amicus brief is available online: