Illinois Leaders React To Supreme Court Decision

Jun 26, 2013

Credit state of Illinois

"Today the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) took a historic step by providing equal access to more than 1,100 federal rights & benefits for same-sex couples," Gov. Pat Quinn said.

"The opportunity to guarantee equal rights and benefits to all citizens-under both state & federal law-is one we must seize in [Illinois without] delay."

“The Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act is a victory for couples who have been fighting to build their lives together and raise their families with all of the rights and dignity of marriage.  In striking down DOMA, the Supreme Court has given added strength to our court fight to overturn Illinois’ ban on same sex marriage.  Today’s decision also intensifies the need to pass a marriage equality bill in our state and ensure that all Illinois couples have access to the full rights and benefits of civil marriage," said Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Because Illinois only allows civil unions and doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, most gay and lesbian couples in the state are unlikely to see their status in the eyes of the federal government changed by today’s decision, Lambda Legal attorney Camilla Taylor told the Chicago Tribune.

“In the vast majority of circumstances, Illinois couples in civil unions are uncertain, if not unlikely, to get any of these benefits,” she said.

Taylor said the Obama administration will have to provide guidance on how the government will treat same-sex couples who were legally married in another state and now live in Illinois. It’s possible, she said, that those couples will now have federal recognition.

“We should expect some federal guidance from the IRS, for example, on how same-sex couples will be treated in states like Illinois if they got married in a state like Iowa, where they can legally marry.”
                                         -- Lambda Legal attorney Camilla Taylor

State Sen. Bill Brady announced this morning he is a Republican candidate running for Governor. Brady says he would honor the Defense of Marriage Act ruling as Governor, WBEZ reporter Tony Arnold reports, but thinks marriage should remain between a man and woman.

Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state's largest advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Illinoisans, offered this initial reaction to today's rulings on marriage equality by the U.S. Supreme Court:

"The Supreme Court today affirmed America's promise of equality by ruling that the federal government cannot ignore constitutional principles when it comes to gay and lesbian couples and their marriages, and it is a moment to celebrate.  But today's historic victory overturning the Defense of Marriage Act is bittersweet in the states like Illinois where couples are still denied the right and recognition of marriage.

"For anyone who doubts that civil unions in Illinois created an unacceptable second-class status, the court's ruling is a powerful message that the state House urgently needs to join the Senate and pass the freedom to marry.

"It is crystal clear now that, by failing to act, the House denied gay and lesbian couples equal access to the federal protections that married couples in other states will now enjoy."

Lt. Governor Sheila Simon issued the following statement:

“I am thrilled by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Windsor today to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This decision supports one of the fundamental principles of our country — equality — and brings us one step closer to the nation we aspire to be.

“I appreciate the Court’s decision in Perry and am excited for all California couples whose marriages are once again recognized. The decision strengthens my resolve to work harder in Illinois and throughout the country to ensure full marriage equality.

“I look forward to renewing that commitment to equal rights with Illinois families and advocates this Sunday at the Pride Parade in Chicago as we continue working toward marriage equality in Illinois.”

Most Reverend David J. Malloy, Bishop of the Diocese of Rockford:

"Today’s Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor, which challenged the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, is a tremendous misstep for the direction of our country.

Our faith and the very truth of our creation by God, tells us that the nature of marriage is based in the complementarity of men and women and is intimately linked to the procreation and raising of children who have a right to a mother and a father. This ruling serves to undermine this fundamental basis of human interaction and its contribution to a stable society and the protection and formation of generations to come.

While this ruling may seem to open the door to further acceptance of a definition of marriage that is contrary to natural law, it does not change our freedom to disagree. It cannot and will not ever change what is written in our faith and in our human design.

We will continue our call to love all our brothers and sisters made in God's image and likeness and do so with respect for God's plan and his will for us as men and women. Our moral compass is set by a higher power than that of any court.

We pray that those who rendered this decision will also be prepared to answer for its consequences to our society."