A newly-elected Republican legislator voiced strong opposition to a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state during a taping of a Catholic Conference of Illinois radio program late last month.
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) told CCI Radio Hour that she will vote “no” on the bill and accused marriage equality proponents of ”trying to redefine marriage. It’s a completely disordered relationship.”
“… They’re trying to weasel their way into acceptability so that they can then start to push their agenda down into the schools, because this gives them some sort of legitimacy,” Ives said. “And we can’t allow that to happen.”
The Illinois House of Representatives is poised to vote on the bill in coming days — the legislation’s final challenge before it can be signed into law.
The bill, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, has garnered little Republican support and intense Republican opposition in the General Assembly. Only one state senator, Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), voted “yes” for the bill in a historic Valentine’s Day victory in the higher chamber.
Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda an LGBT rights organization working to advance the bill, condemned Ives’ remarks.
“Her comments would be laughable if she wasn’t so out of touch with mainstream America,” Martinez said. “She may call us weasels, but I call her chicken. She campaigned on concealed and carry and pensions and she has voted ‘no’ on both of those issues throughout the session.
“Representatives on both sides of the aisle need to be thinking about what side of the debate they want to be remembered for in history –the side of fairness and equality or the side where Rep. Ives is standing now,” Martinez said.
The bill’s chief sponsor in the House, Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) quickly responded to news of his colleague’s comments.
“I am very proud to support all Illinois families who work hard every day to show their commitment and love, who struggle to provide the best for their children and give them a happy home,” he said. “I urge my colleagues in the Illinois House of Representatives to pass SB10 so that all families are treated with dignity and respect in our communities and in the eyes of the law.”
Support for the bill is inching closer and closer to the 60 “yes” votes required to move it to the desk of Gov. Pat Quinn, who said he will quickly sign the bill into law. However, advocates are missing at least a handful of votes and are uncertain about when the vote will happen on the House floor.
Nine other states have legalized same-sex marriage — Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Connecticut, Vermont, Washington, New Hampshire, New York and Massachusetts.
Ives could not immediately be reached for comment late Wednesday night.