-Illinois
5:08 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage Sponsor Faces Backlash

Rep. Greg Harris
Credit ilga.gov

Gay rights activists praised Rep. Greg Harris in 2011 for helping pass Illinois' civil unions law.  Some of those same activists are now criticizing him for how he's handled a measure to legalize same sex marriage.

Harris was tearful when he announced just before the House adjourned its spring session that there would be no vote because he didn't believe it could pass.

But immediately after, political director of the Civil Rights Agenda, Rick Garcia, put the blame squarely on Harris.

Garcia says the effort was doomed from the start because Harris didn't do enough to reach out to African American or Latino legislators, nor were minority lobbyists heavily involved.

"All of a sudden you have all these old, rich white guys running around spreading their money to other white guys  who know nothing.  And that is really why we lost." -Rick Garcia

The publisher of the LBGT newspaper the Windy City Times echoed that sentiment ... and is calling on Harris to step down as the measure's sponsor.

But Equality Illinois - a gay rights group from which Garcia was fired more than two years ago - issued a statement of support for Rep. Harris and denounced calls for him to resign.