Illinois Statehouse News

Several sites in Illinois ideal for gay marriage bill signing

2013-11-11T00:00:00Z Several sites in Illinois ideal for gay marriage bill signingKurt Erickson Lee Springfield Bureau nwitimes.com
November 11, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Memo to: Gov. Pat Quinn

From: Office of Bill Signing Logistics

Re: Gay marriage bill

Date: Nov. 10, 2013

Governor – We know you have already chosen a venue at the University of Illinois Chicago to sign the recently approved gay marriage bill.

With more than 22,000 square feet of meeting space, we understand the UIC Forum appears to be an ideal space for the signing, allowing thousands of interested stakeholders to participate in this historic event.

While the Nov. 20 ceremony will surely be a landmark occasion, we in the Logistics office are urging you to look at other potential sites in Illinois that could provide what we believe might be a more colorful backdrop than an auditorium or convention center-type setting.

Our tireless staff has spent countless hours identifying potential possibilities throughout the state that more specifically target the message you are trying to project as you look toward the 2014 election season, potentially facing candidates who ardently opposed this legislation.

We’ve already reviewed and rejected a number of possible sites, including the perfectly named Union County. In this case, we concluded it would have placed too much emphasis on the idea of civil unions, rather than on actual marriage between two people of the same sex. Union County, therefore, was rejected.

But, there are a number of other great opportunities for you throughout the Land of Lincoln.

Following are some suggestions we hope you will consider as an alternative to Chicago:

EQUALITY: Situated in the picturesque Shawnee National Forest, we’re sure the town of Equality and its 500-plus residents would welcome the notoriety of you signing Senate Bill 10 in their midst. Imagine invoking the name of the town as you sign your name to the legislation. Plus, you could make a pit stop at the nearby Garden of the Gods, one of Illinois’ most treasured natural geographic features. There is one rock formation I swear looks exactly like a camel, or is it a mushroom. There is a campground and the interns can bring tents and beef jerky if you are interested in spending the night. Sheila Simon, your lieutenant governor, could zip over from Carbondale to provide some appropriate background music. Campfire optional.

LOVES PARK: If Equality isn't where you're at with this, there is a town in the northern part of the state that also seems appropriate for signing the legislation. It’s called Loves Park. It is located north of Rockford, near the Wisconsin border. In addition to focusing on the historic nature of legalizing gay marriage, you could take an easy potshot at Scott Walker and make one of your coveted Green Bay Packer jokes. Just remember to emphasize the whole "Loves Park" thing.

GAYS: Although we know you've walked across much of the state as part of your effort to improve health care for all Illinoisans, you might not know about Gays. This town of about 750 residents is located west of Mattoon on Ill. 16. One of its more famous features is a two-story outhouse, which we urge you not to use. You could open your speech with the words: “Just as generations of Gays people have been married here …” Or something to that effect.

If you choose to pursue any of these options, please let us know in advance and we will work to ensure an appropriate level of press coverage happens in each area.

Sincerely,

Your Loyal Bill Signing Logistics team

-- EVOLVING POSITIONS

Approval of the gay marriage legislation in the Illinois House last week came after more than two hours of sometimes emotional debate from supporters and opponents.

Many of the supporters talked about how their positions on gay marriage have changed over the years.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, for example, said his change of heart was bolstered by Pope Francis in July.

"If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?" Francis said.

On the floor of the House, Madigan said, “For those that just happen to be gay — living in a very harmonious, productive relationship but illegal — who am I to judge that they should be illegal?"

The measure was approved with one vote to spare.

Kurt Erickson is bureau chief of the Lee Springfield Bureau. He can be reached at kurt.erickson@lee.net or (217) 782-4043.

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