SPRINGFIELD – A ruling by a federal judge in Chicago Friday to allow same-sex individuals in Cook County to marry immediately and ahead of the actual effective date of the same-sex marriage law passed last fall has prompted State Sen. Kyle McCarter to end his efforts to both repeal the law and push for a statewide vote on the issue.
“It was my intention when I submitted Senate Bill 2637 this year to repeal the law which redefined legal marriage within Illinois law because the people of Illinois were not given a realistic chance to weigh in on an issue of immense and radical cultural change,” said McCarter (R-Lebanon). “Given the level of influence and corruption we have witnessed by the well-connected and special interest groups in recent years, I am not convinced the will of the people was met by the original passage of Senate Bill 10.”
The order allowing same-sex individuals to marry was issued by Federal District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman. According to the Chicago Tribune, Judge Coleman said, ‘There is no reason to delay further when no opposition has been presented to this Court and committed gay and lesbian couples have already suffered from the denial of their fundamental right to marry.’
McCarter said while the ruling may be limited at this time to Cook County because the lawsuit was filed against the Cook County Clerk’s office to force him to issue marriage licenses, he expects similar suits will be filed against other county clerks throughout the state.
“The ruling is both disappointing and troubling,” said McCarter. “Obviously disappointing because of the radical change to our culture that the same-sex marriage law ushers in and the fact citizens in general were given no adequate voice in the decision-making. The troubling aspect of this is that the law passed last year contained protections for religious institutions from being forced to perform and solemnize ceremonies. I am concerned that those protections, as flimsy as I believe they were when the law was passed, won’t take effect until June 1, 2014. This puts our churches, wedding-related businesses and individuals at legal risk.”
Sen. McCarter said although the same-sex marriage law was passed by elected representatives, the people of Illinois were not given the opportunity through statewide public hearings to speak out for or against the redefinition of marriage.
“Legislative leaders have had no problem scheduling hearings around the state on other critical issues such as education funding and redrawing political boundaries for senators and representatives. Why didn’t they schedule hearings on redefining legal marriage to include same-sex couples?” said McCarter.
“Recently, nationally and now here in Illinois, we have seen example after example of the Executive and Judicial branches of government wielding supreme power over the will of the people or acting exclusively on their own without care to the will of the people,” said McCarter.