CHICAGO - Being the daughter of the Illinois Democratic Party Chairman Mike Madigan, Illinois' Attorney General Lisa Madigan's opinion in support of same sex marriage made public Wednesday in the Chicago Tribune surprised no one. Indeed, AG Madigan's agrees with her and her father's political party platform. Although AG Madigan identifies herself as a Roman Catholic, she separated herself from her religious affiliation by supporting the redefinition of marriage to include same sex couples. The measure waits before the Illinois House.
I believe that passing the marriage equality bill is the only way to fulfill the promise of equal protection under the Illinois Constitution. While I have supported marriage equality since my days as a state senator over a decade ago, I have since conducted an extensive legal analysis that has only emboldened my support as attorney general.
A ban on same-sex marriage violates the state Constitution's equal protection clause. The law does not allow the state or federal government to create a separate class of marriage based on a person's sexual orientation. There is no other way to describe this than to call it discrimination. That is why, in state court, I have intervened in a lawsuit challenging Illinois' current marriage law, and at the federal level, my office has filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court that support overturning California's same-sex marriage ban and finding the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
Legal arguments aside, this issue at its heart is about one of the most fundamental decisions we can make — with whom to share our lives. In every community in Illinois, same-sex couples have chosen to join together and, in many instances, to raise families of their own. These couples are our relatives and friends, our neighbors, co-workers and parents of our children's classmates. They deserve the same rights and responsibilities that civil marriage offers straight couples.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan conducted an investigation into private religious adoption agencies in Illinois after a complaint was filed by a gay couple seeking to place a 14 year old boy in their home. Their complaint led to the attorney general's office to accuse another group - Catholic Charities - of discriminating against same sex couples by referring children in their care to husband and wife couples. The Department of Children and Family Services cut ties with Catholic Charities and the church-related adoption agency was forced to shut down in Illinois.
Madigan is expected to run for governor in 2014, although she has yet to make a formal announcement.