Contentious House vote expected on gay marriage

2013-03-03T06:30:00Z Contentious House vote expected on gay marriageBy Kenneth Lowe | klowe@pantagraph.com pantagraph.com

BLOOMINGTON — As Springfield lawmakers took another step toward legalizing gay marriage last week, Central Illinois couples who stand to benefit are waiting to see if it becomes law and what it will mean, while local officials are wondering how they’ll accommodate an expected surge in licenses.

Illinois legalized civil unions for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples in 2011, essentially creating a marriage-like legal standing for same-sex couples. Activists said it was not the same and pushed for full marriage equality for same-sex couples, an effort that came closer to success when an Illinois House committee approved a Senate version of a bill to legalize it.

Among those voicing support of the bill is Levi Sturgeon, 28, of Bloomington, who entered into a civil union with his long-time partner Carl Olson, 37. Sturgeon said both were ecstatic over the state’s legalization of civil unions, but called the arrangement “separate but equal.”

He expects a contentious vote in Springfield, but hopes Democrats and Republicans can unite on the issue. In the Senate, Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, was the only Republican to vote “yes” on Senate Bill 10, the same-sex marriage law awaiting a vote on the House floor.

“I’m still hoping to see success,” Sturgeon said. “I would really like to see the parties joined together and pass this as a group. Republicans can very well support their same platforms, I believe, and support equality.”

Melle Hany, 31, of Bloomington, is in a civil union with her partner, Brittany May, 29, and also has been vocal in her support of legalizing same-sex marriage. A nurse practitioner and mother of an 11-year-old girl, she said “getting civilized” will never have the same standing as “getting married,” and calling May her “partner” can never be as meaningful as calling May her “wife.” It affects her daughter’s perception of the relationship, too, said Hany.

“I think it’s, for (my daughter), to show that gay marriage is a valid relationship,” Hany said. “It’s the validity of having a wife.”

One concern Sturgeon expressed is whether his civil union may need to be dissolved in order to enter into marriage if it becomes law. The legislation references “converting” to marriage for those in civil unions.

“My wish would be that we would just … our civil union would automatically evolve into a marriage, if we chose to,” Sturgeon said. “Do I have to go to the court and dissolve my civil union in order to get married? That is not the intent.”

The bill provides for couples in civil unions to get marriage licenses free of charge. Macon County Clerk Steve Bean explained it would only affect couples in civil unions who choose to change over.

“From what we understand, there will be no additional cost to the couple and the counties will bear any additional costs that occur,” Bean said. “That’s an option — you don’t have to switch it over if you don’t want to.”

As of last week, McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael said her office hadn’t received a clear explanation of what procedures county officials would use in changing over those who come in for a marriage license.

“I don’t know how we’re going to enter (those licenses) into our software, how we’re going to code it, or what that process is,” Michael said. “I’m surprised they haven’t said, ‘This is what’s going to happen when it passes.’ ”

McLean County had issued 109 civil union licenses as of the end of January. Michael said if the bill passes, she expects a boom that will likely keep her staff busier for a while.

“I’ve alerted the staff, because with civil unions, we had a rush of excited couples coming in,” Michael said. “I’ve said, ‘Be ready for when this passes.’ ”

In Macon County, the number of civil unions has been lower, 54, though Bean thinks many couples could be waiting for gay marriage to be legalized.

Copyright 2015 pantagraph.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(34) Comments

  1. CLG4
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    CLG4 - March 06, 2013 8:16 am
    There is a lot of people that have professed THEIR FEELINGS here, now who is going to actually pony up a LEGAL argument against this bill that will stand against the Constitution. Till that is done, all that the nay sayers are really doing is discriminating against a fellow citizen which is strictly PROHIBITED under the law of the land. But then it easier to FEEL good about yourself when you use community organizer tactics to make one segment of our society the BOOGIE man and try to put down and belittle and to some extent harass. Some citizens here are truly ignorant of the distinction between moral and legal arguments. And may I add that sadly this is what our culture has become, a community of organizers whipping up hate for the rule of law in favor of what they see as their moral obligation.
  2. ChubbyAlaskaGriz
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    ChubbyAlaskaGriz - March 06, 2013 1:48 am
    glr427: please keep speaking your mind. Please keep telling it like it is and saying exactly how you feel on this matter. You and your ilk are likely responsible for more progress toward equality for gays than any other source. Normal rational folks read the whacko words of people like you and are rpulsed, and can't help but throw 110% support behind the movement. I thank you.
  3. ChubbyAlaskaGriz
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    ChubbyAlaskaGriz - March 06, 2013 1:44 am
    glr427, are you then advocating that we gay fellas court your daughters and coax them into sham marriages to exercise this "equal right" you claim we already have? Really?
  4. zimdelinvasor
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    zimdelinvasor - March 05, 2013 1:57 pm
    Hi there! I'm gay, and because I can speak from experience and you can't, let me just tell you that you're wrong. It's not a choice. I'd know because I am. Sorry to ruin your delusions. Have a nice day!

    http://andrewducker.dreamwidth.org/2709819.html
  5. Jose
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    Jose - March 04, 2013 10:12 am
    Well, art is art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now you tell me what you know. ~ Groucho Marx
  6. Normal50
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    Normal50 - March 03, 2013 8:06 pm

    Internet addiction disorder? That is being considered as an addition to the DSM?

    I grew up with a few kids that spent countless numbers of hours in the Normal Public Library as kids reading. If they did the same thing today online using the internet, it would be considered a mental disorder today?
  7. Lil' Slugger
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    Lil' Slugger - March 03, 2013 7:37 pm
    "but I have been doing some research on legalizing same sex marriage. So, is psychiatry a medical field of study, or a political one?"

    Yes, I am sure your vast research on Wikipedia could enlighten us all. All you did was (poorly) summarize a few sections:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders

  8. Lil' Slugger
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    Lil' Slugger - March 03, 2013 7:33 pm
    "to try and make everyone think homosexuals are somehow different because of genetics... they are NOT."

    Prove it.
  9. Lil' Slugger
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    Lil' Slugger - March 03, 2013 7:29 pm
    So, if it is just semantics, why do you care if same-sex couples use the word "marriage"?
  10. Normal50
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    Normal50 - March 03, 2013 5:16 pm

    Dave - I don't care what gays do in their own personal lives. In fact, I don't think it's my business what anyone does in their own bedroom, as long as it doesn't interfere with another person's freedom.
  11. OldDaveNJ
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    OldDaveNJ - March 03, 2013 5:04 pm
    For one thing, there wasn't that much good data prior to about 20 years ago. One study that NOM always likes to bring up relied on data about homosexuals gathered from places like porn shops, brothels, massage parlors, etc. Not surprisingly, studies like that found homosexuals to be very dysfunctional ... not because they, as a class, really are, but because of the sampling methods used. It's only been relatively recently that homosexuals in same-gender relationships were out of the closet in sufficient numbers to get good data. And lo and behold, they are perfectly able to enter into healthy, stable relationships, and raise children and all the good things families are about. Like all minorities that have been discriminated against, they have a higher incidence of problematic behaviors in some areas, but that is all the more reason ... according to the major mental health organizations ... for ending anti-gay stigmatization and supporting same-gender marriage.
  12. moderndaycowboy
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    moderndaycowboy - March 03, 2013 4:47 pm
    When I read the completely illogical comments about this issue, all I think of is this photo:
    http://andrewducker.dreamwidth.org/2709819.html
  13. Normal50
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    Normal50 - March 03, 2013 4:44 pm
    Can you tell me what data has changed? What data was used before to conclude that homosexuality should be classified as a mental illness?

  14. OldDaveNJ
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    OldDaveNJ - March 03, 2013 4:31 pm
    @Normal50 -- it's a medical field of study ... which means that sometimes data from new scientific studies overturn previously-held erroneous theories. What's your point?
  15. jster
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    jster - March 03, 2013 4:21 pm
    because they are not the same thing under law, genius!
  16. Normal50
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    Normal50 - March 03, 2013 3:53 pm

    I am a heterosexual male, but I have been doing some research on legalizing same sex marriage. I never knew that homosexuality was once considered a mental illness in the DSM, the "bible" of psychiatry. Interesting. So, is psychiatry a medical field of study, or a political one?
  17. earlyriser54
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    earlyriser54 - March 03, 2013 3:31 pm
    You are absolutely correct Towanda for once in your life. A word is a word. So why all the fuss about the difference between the words civil unions and marriage?
  18. HellsBelle
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    HellsBelle - March 03, 2013 3:26 pm
    Natural law according to who? Don't like gay marriage? Don't get one. Problem solved!
  19. commenterformarriage
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    commenterformarriage - March 03, 2013 2:26 pm
    No man-made laws have the ability to change nature. Marriage is part of natural law.
    http://www.tfpstudentaction.org/politically-incorrect/homosexuality/answering-top-10-arguments-used-to-push-homosexuality.html
  20. Jose
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    Jose - March 03, 2013 1:59 pm
    What does it matter? A word is a word. If you want to call your spouse a sofa, it doesn't detract from your marriage, nor negate any of your commitment to each other.
  21. Jose
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    Jose - March 03, 2013 1:57 pm
    Since when are you a stickler for some arbitrary, fear-based authoritarian "rules"? If those same rules were applied to you, you can bet we'd hear you screaming from here to the moon.

    Everyone does NOT have equal treatment now. Many gay and lesbian Americans are, under current law, denied civil rights protections that others either don't need or assume that everyone else along with themselves, already have.

    Why don't you face up to your REAL reasons for whining about this non-issue?

    1. You're not comfy with the idea. Ooook, ick, yuck, waaaaaaaah...

    2. You're afraid it contradicts some magic sanctity created by some church somewhere.

    3. You believe gay marriage is unnatural, not masculine/feminine or some other "fill in the blank" scary thought.

    4. You're afraidafraidafraid scared spitless of the big, bad "who knows what".

    As a true conservative, it makes much more sense for you to work toward changing the laws that prevent decent human beings from being denied their civil rights. It makes much more sense to allow the formation of commitments that in turn lead to strong communities. It makes much more sense that gays conduct their relationships within the context of a well-defined marriage law, same as heterosexual couples. It makes much more sense to to have the same commitment to each other within well-delineated responsibilities as have heterosexual couples, rather than just hit-and-miss, kiss-and-gone, easily discarded relationships that lead to legal entanglements, court battles, family feuds and other social chaos which costs EVERYONE in the long run.
  22. Jose
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    Jose - March 03, 2013 1:41 pm
    Why are you so illogical and irrational? What harm does it do you if two men or two women want to marry each other?

    Fear makes you spout irrational nonsense like this, but thankfully your beliefs are a minority, and soon to go the way of the dinosaur.
  23. Jose
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    Jose - March 03, 2013 1:39 pm
    There is no such thing as 'straight' people. There are people with heterosexuality and heterosexuals. Heterosexuals and the conservative media say 'straight' to con and deceive, to try and make everyone think heterosexuals are somehow different because of genetics... they are NOT. There are human men and women... not some different species. The fact is they don't have to choose a different-sex partner, that is their choice.

    Flip it around, and your argument makes no more sense than what I just typed.

    Humans are humans. They no more "choose" their sexuality than they "choose" their race or gender.
  24. Jose
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    Jose - March 03, 2013 1:35 pm
    What wonderful news! Two humans that love each other can be married, rather than coerced into living a lie!
  25. OldDaveNJ
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    OldDaveNJ - March 03, 2013 12:13 pm
    @glr427-- Virtually every argument you make was also used by those opposed to interracial marriage. Even the bit about "there is no discrimination because everybody has the same right now to marry somebody of the opposite gender" ... except then it was "marry somebody of the same race." And yet the SCOTUS rejected that very argument and found laws against interracial marriage to be in violation of the 14th Amendment.

    Sexual orientation is no less a choice than race. Wanting to marry somebody of a different race is no LESS a choice than wanting to marry somebody of the same gender ... except that in the case of homosexuals, they can develop healthy, successful marriages ONLY with people of the same gender. If laws against interracial marriage were unconstitutional discrimination, laws against same-gender marriage are even more so.
  26. HellsBelle
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    HellsBelle - March 03, 2013 12:01 pm
    I feel sorry for everyone who can't wrap their minds around love and choose to live with judgement instead. You are the ones who really need to be prayed for.
  27. HellsBelle
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    HellsBelle - March 03, 2013 11:58 am
    I feel sorry for everyone who can't wrap their minds around love and choose to live with judgement instead. You are the ones who really need to be prayed for.
  28. jm2
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    jm2 - March 03, 2013 11:29 am
    . . . if Melle wants to call her partner a wife, does that mean the partner calls Melle her husband? A wife is a woman and a husband is a man. Wow, I'm so confused. And, Melle states her daughter's perception is affected by the word partner . . .
  29. glr427
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    glr427 - March 03, 2013 10:25 am
    Chubby, you're confused when you stated "Every human deserves the same equal treatment." Because everyone has equal treatment now. Everyone can marry under the traditional marriage rules..... you won't follow the rules, that's your problem.
  30. glr427
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    glr427 - March 03, 2013 10:21 am
    Homosexuals are never rational.... their behavior is irrational. They choose same-sex partners even though it's abnormal, illogical, and irrational. They could choose someone of the opposite sex to love but they don't because why.... they are irrational. There is nothing rational about homosexuality. There is no reason we should redefine marriage so same-sex couples can "marry". Marriage has been between one man and one woman only in Illinois for a long time... and it should stay that way.
  31. glr427
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    glr427 - March 03, 2013 10:15 am
    There is no such thing as 'gay' people. There are people with homosexuality and homosexuals. Homosexuals and the liberal media say "gay" to con and deceive, to try and make everyone think homosexuals are somehow different because of genetics... they are NOT. There are human men and women... not some different species. The fact is they don't have to choose a same-sex partner, that is their choice.
  32. BC
    Report Abuse
    BC - March 03, 2013 8:38 am
    It is an attempt to legislate religious principle, something that some have tried to do for years. I remember when as many supported segregation and armed themselves with so called Biblical reference. The base fact that same gender preference has remained at about 10% of our species for eons points to the fact it is naturally occurring and inborn. The idea that it is a choice is ridiculous. One of the biggest advocates claiming to cure gay ended up going back to his life style after messing up the minds of many who tried his cure. Trying to become what they are not has disrupted more lives and created more misery than any of those who recognize and accept what they are and live accordingly. I personally know 2 people who married only to find their spouse was trying to be something they were not.
  33. Oh My
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    Oh My - March 03, 2013 7:02 am
    Now DAVE and DAN can legally get married now
  34. ChubbyAlaskaGriz
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    ChubbyAlaskaGriz - March 03, 2013 6:46 am
    Never seen so many folks question doing the RIGHT thing. I simply could NEVER place one iota of trust in ANYONE who could not conclude that discrimination against gay people is not right, not just and not something that we don't need to kill and put behind us forever, once and for all. Why in the HELL is this SUCH a difficult decision? There ain't a rational soul anywhere I know who's ever presented a compelling position aginst equal treatment for all. Every human deserves the same equal treatment. Period. Stop resisting. Those who do are gonna feel SO incredibly STUPID in years to come as they look back on it all. Do the right thing NOW and STOP embarrassing your descendents.
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