Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Give it up, guv. You’ll get chance to boast about gay marriage soon enough

I realize that Gov. Pat Quinn gets more than his share of abuse. So any chance he gets to actually issue some sort of statement about something he views as positive is something he’s not going to let slide past by.
QUINN: Pipe down, for now

But I wish someone had managed to put a little bit of restraint on The Mighty Quinn on Tuesday. His statement in support of the concept of gay marriage being legal is not a new stance for him.

AND THE ISSUE still has several steps to go before it gets to the point where he actually gets a piece of paper in front of him, along with a collection of pens so large that he literally will sign his name to it in tiny strokes – probably using a separate pen just to cross the “t” in his first name.

Because I’m sure there are several people who will want as a souvenir the pen the Illinois governor used to strike down the laws that say marriage between same-gender couples are not legitimate.

But it seems that Quinn can’t wait for the chance to get boastful about this issue.

For he literally issued a statement to congratulate the state Senate’s executive committee for giving its recommendation to the measure on Tuesday.

FOR WHAT IT’S worth, the executive committees in the state Senate and Illinois House of Representatives are the ones where all the top-priority (in the minds of the legislative leaders) issues are sent to.

Those committees are loaded with top-level legislators who can be trusted by their leaders to vote the way they’re supposed to.

Which means that all the executive committee vote on Tuesday really meant is that state Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, sent the issue to a place where the vote was rigged in a way to ensure its passage.

Considering that Cullerton all along had said he would do this, it really isn’t that significant.

FOR THIS MEASURE is now in the part of the legislative process that a former television correspondent at the Statehouse used to call “the five steps.” In reality, there are many more steps as lobbyists get involved to exert their undue influence on all issues.

But this was “step one,” according to the civics textbook view of government. Approval by a committee, followed by the second step of approval by the full legislative chamber.

Then, steps three and four consist of a committee approval and full chamber backing in the other Legislative chamber – in this case, the House of Representatives, where House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, will get his chance to have a say on the matter.

To read through Quinn’s statement, you’d think he were signing the bill into law right now – instead of having to endure a process where things could still go wrong and some unforeseen development could thwart the matter.

BECAUSE WHILE CULLERTON engages in rhetoric about giving this bill final state Senate approval on Valentine’s Day as a nice gesture, there are still those people who would take some sort of perverse pride in stalling this measure – if not killing it outright.

It has me wondering if Quinn’s statement will be perceived as a challenge. Dump the guv! Is he tempting fate by making it seem as though this issue is already won?

I’m enough of a political paranoid that I don’t declare anything “won” until the ink is dried on the bill.

I’m sure some will try to argue that Quinn is trying to motivate the supporters of the issue to act as swiftly as possible. Except that I don’t think this is an issue where people can be swayed.

MANY MAY VIEW Quinn’s comment that “marriage equality is a matter of fairness and equal rights under law” as an incredibly obvious statement. Yet others will challenge that belief, and I’d hate to think Quinn’s premature declaration will provide them an incentive to work harder against it.

Because while some people might try to claim this is an issue of Chicago imposing some twisted viewpoint upon the “decent, god-fearing” people of the rest of Illinois, I couldn’t help but notice one tidbit Quinn put into his statement.

That being that individuals in 92 of Illinois’ 102 counties have taken advantage of the civil unions option that has been in state law in recent years.

The last I heard, metropolitan Chicago is at best only about eight counties large (or 11 if you count Lake and Porter counties in Indiana or Kenosha County, Wis.). That’s a lot of other people whom the ideologues are trying to ignore.


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