Local lawmakers split on same-sex marriage
By Cindy Wojdyla CAIN AND BRIAN STANLEY Staff Reporters January 2, 2013 10:36PM
Joliet resident A. Joseph responds to the proposal to legalize gay marriage in Illinois Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, in Joliet. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Joliet area residents on gay marrige:
Updated: February 4, 2013 2:46PM
Local legislators had mixed reactions Wednesday to a possible vote on the legalization of same-sex marriage during the Legislature’s lame duck session.
In Springfield, Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago and Sen. Heather Stearns, D-Chicago, are expected to introduce a same-sex legalization measure. Nine states currently recognize gay marriage.
On Tuesday, Cardinal Francis George issued a letter calling same-sex laws “legal fiction” and urged Catholics to contact legislators.
“I am a Catholic, but a same-sex couple willing to make that level of commitment to each other would seem to warrant the same legal rights as a heterosexual couple,” Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Joliet, said Wednesday.
While McGuire said he has not heard from many private constituents on the issue, he did meet with representatives from Equality Illinois after taking office last year.
State Rep. Larry Walsh Jr., D-Elwood, said many voters have offered him feedback — split evenly between supporters and opponents.
“I haven’t decided one way or another (on the proposed bill), but this is starting to become the civil rights issue of our time,” Walsh said.
Walsh said he would vote to best represent his district either way.
“But personally, I don’t have a problem with (legalizing) it,” he added.
State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, said her offices in Peru and Springfield have received numerous calls about the possible bill.
“They’re asking me to vote against the bill,” she said of her constituents.
As of Wednesday afternoon, it wasn’t clear it would even be called, Rezin said.
But if it is, she said she would stick to her conservative values.
“I believe in the traditional definition of marriage, which is between a man and a woman,” she said. “That won’t change.”
House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, said he was waiting for more information on the proposed bill.
“Haven’t seen it — haven’t read it,” he said.