kate cloonen

Let’s Do This Already; I’m Getting Exhausted

 Have you seen Abraham Lincoln/Illinois Outline/Marriage Equality pictures on Facebook recently? That’s because the Illinois General Assembly holds its first “veto session” next week: Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday (Oct. 22-24).

That means we have yet another chance to finally allow same-sex couples to marry. You’ll likely be hearing a lot about this in the next few days. Here is a quick primer:

1) To pass in its current form, the bill needs 71 votes in the House. That is a high hurdle, because we could not even get 60 votes last May. However, the bill can be amended to change the start date (for next June) at which point it would only need 60 votes. We are VERY close to having those 60 votes.

Rep. Kate Cloonen is about to cast a vote on behalf of Kankakee County against equal rights.

Rep. Kate Cloonen is about to cast a vote on behalf of Kankakee County against equal rights.

2) A few representatives are still undecided. The single most important thing you can do right now is send a personalized email/message/call to your representative. GO HERE to send a message or LOOK AT THIS POST for contact information.

*A special note for those in Kankakee, Bradley, and Bourbonnais. Democrat Kate Cloonen met with the local equal rights organization this Wednesday at Family House Restaurant (my favorite breakfast spot on the planet, so I took this personal). At the meeting she said that she does not believe gay people in Illinois should be able to marry. Please take a moment now to kindly ask her to re-consider. Voting to keep people unequal (in the Land of Lincoln, of all places) should be embarrassing.

FB: https://www.facebook.com/staterepresentativekate.cloonen
Email: staterepcloonen79@att.net

3) If you end up in polite discussion with opponents of equality this week (I hope so), here’s a quick Argument Cheat Sheet

  • Claim A: I do not support this, because I believe it attacks religious liberty. Christians should not be sued because they do not want to participate in these ceremonies.

–Religious liberty is important. That is why the bill does not force any church to perform services against their wishes. Also, the bill makes ZERO changes to discrimination laws in the state. A completely separate law governs non-discrimination rules in Illinois. In other words, passing this bill will not in any way impact the rights or obligations of any religious person or entity.

  • Claim B: I do not support this, because I believe all children deserve a mother and a father. 

–Great. But permitting a loving couple to get married in no way impacts the parentage of children.  Please do not use children as an excuse to perpetuate inequality.

  • Claim C: I do not support this, because gay couples already have civil unions; they just care about the word marriage. 

–Actually, gay couples in Illinois who have a civil union DO NOT receive federal marriage benefits (i.e. Social Security rights, estate tax breaks, +1,000 others). That is because the federal government does not recognize civil unions, but they do recognize marriage.

Others Are Yelling – Don’t Stay Silent

“In the end we remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

– MLK Jr.

Large church congregations are sending mass emails, calls, and flyers to Illinois legislators urging them to ensure gay couples remain less than under the law.  The leading anti-gay organization in the state, the Illinois Family Institute, is telling congregations to pass out this flyer.  Among other things, the flyer claims that if gay couples are treated equally then….

gay-marriage-banner“CHILDREN, in some cases, will be deliberately deprived of the opportunity to
be raised by a mother and father.”

Apparently honesty is not an important commandment when playing politics.

We cannot allow ridiculous scare tactics to sway legislators into continuing discrimination.  One swing Democrat in the northern part of the state just announced that she is going vote to deny equal rights after a large church group  screamed at a recent public hearing.  That large group was mostly made up of  a congregation that arrived in a bus with a banner on the side reading “Say No to Same Sex Marriage.”

We will always have diverse religious beliefs.  But individual religious opinion about any issue can never be an excuse to deny equal rights to certain members of the community.  It was wrong when it was used to treat women as inferior.  It was wrong when it was used to treat African Americans as second-class.  And it is wrong to deny equality to same sex couples.

Thirty years from now I want to look back and know that I did not stand idly by while injustice prevailed…I want to tell my grandchildren that I used my voice to say: Enough!  I hope you feel the same.  More than ever before, NOW is our time to do something.

CloonenKate1

Reminder: Please take a moment to send a message to Rep. Kate Cloonen to let her know that our community is made stronger when gay couples in love are treated the same as everyone else. Also, please share with friends and family to ensure they do the same.

(1) Facebook message HERE

(2) Send her an email (staterepcloonen79@att.net)

(3) Call her office (815) 939-1983

[Don’t forget…mention your address or that of relatives if you live in the area]

Kate Cloonen – Vote for Love & Equality

Bradley and Bourbonnais residents…all eyes are on you this week.

Why?  Because our representative is planning to vote to deny equal rights to all her constituents.

Kate Cloonen is the IL House member who serves our corner of the state: Bradley, Bourbonnais, Kankakee, Grant Park, Aroma Park, Limestone, Herscher, Peotone, and others.

CloonenKate1Get This: Right now Rep. Cloonen, a Democrat, may vote to prevent her gay and lesbian constituents from marrying.  I am shocked and saddened that she is leaning this way.  Our area deserves better than a vote against fairness and love.

We are one step away from making marriage equality happen in Illinois.  That hurdle will take place in the next week or so, and it is literally going to come down to one or two votes.  It breaks my heart to think that our own Representative may be the deciding voice that tells gay couples yet again that they are not deserving of the same equality under the law as their friends and neighbors.

PLEASE take one moment to send Rep. Cloonen a Facebook message HERE OR send her an email (staterepcloonen79@att.net) OR call her office (815) 939-1983 OR all three. [Don’t forget…mention your address or that of relatives if you live in the area]

Injustice perpetuates when good people do nothing.  Please do not stay on the sidelines.  Kindly remind Rep. Cloonen that denying marriage rights to gay couples does not help a single person in our town, but it harms many.  Urge her to vote for love and equality.

You could share the words of a powerful editorial:

gay couple 3

“The question facing those reluctant Illinois lawmakers is not about their own personal beliefs on gay marriage. It is about their personal beliefs on discrimination. Which law-abiding groups do they purposely want to exclude under state law?

Any answer but “none” would be awful.”

Take a moment and send something now.  It will take only a second and could change everything.  We need you.  Please…

(1) Facebook message HERE

(2) Send her an email (staterepcloonen79@att.net)

(3) Call her office (815) 939-1983

[Don’t forget…mention your address or that of relatives if you live in the area]