Mayor Emanuel supports marriage equality bill, Gov. Quinn unsure

Gov. Quinn, April 21, 2009. Photo: Roy Focker 12.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel pledged his support for a new bill introduced in the General Assembly last week that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois, according a report by Chicago Tribune Wednesday.

“I’ll push for it because it is consistent with the values base, and the practical values base, that I think is right as a city, as a state and as a country,” said Emanuel in the report.

State Rep. Greg Harris and a small group of lawmakers introduced the marriage equality bill titled, the Religious Freedom & Marriage Fairness Act, last week on the heels of a federal court’s decision that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

Local LGBT rights advocates continue to voice their support for the bill, and applaud Emanuel’s pledge for equality.

“The Mayor’s comments demonstrate an understanding that while civil unions were an important milestone in the state, they do not offer all loving and committed couples the full access to the rights and responsibilities that marriage would,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois. “The challenge is for us in the LGBT equality movement to ensure that we build on the momentum for marriage equality and grow support for the bill.”

Emanuel’s support for the bill comes nearly a day after Gov. Pat Quinn suggested that he was unsure about his stance on same-sex marriage, despite having signed the civil unions bill into law last year.

Quinn said that he didn’t know if he would support the marriage equality bill, and that he wants to study issues surrounding same-sex marriage before he makes a decision, according to the Associated Press.

“We believe in civil rights, and we believe in civil unions,” Quinn said after signing the civil unions law. “We believe in liberty and justice for all.”

Cherkasov hopes that Quinn will follow Emanuel and support the bill.

“The Governor has advocated for relationship recognition equality for same-sex couples, has led the efforts to pass civil unions, has fought to ensure that same-sex couples in a civil union receive all the benefits intended for them to receive, and has publicly committed to supporting full equality for LGBT individuals and couples,” Cherkasov said. “As the Governor continues to consider the needs of gay and lesbian couples in loving, committed relationships, I hope that he will become a champion of their full marriage equality.”

Chicago Phoenix was unable to reach Quinn after hours Wednesday, but will continue to update this story as details become available.