Saturday, February 2, 2013

So close, yet so far apart on many issues. Illiana concept is such a myth

It never fails to amaze me the knee-jerk reaction that political people in Illinois and Indiana will face.
So close, yet so far apart!

On so many issues, it seems that whatever one state does – the other will do the exact opposite. Perhaps we ought to stare each other down while standing on opposite sides of State Line Road.

ALTHOUGH IN ALL honesty, a part of me thinks the REAL boundary between the two states is Indianapolis Boulevard. Or perhaps somewhere just east of Gary down by the Indiana Dunes.

The latest issue that we can’t seem to agree upon is one that many of us can’t reach a consensus on – whether or not gay couples ought to have any right to the legal benefits derived from marriage.

The trend is turning towards realizing that what one couple does really doesn’t impact another couple. It’s not like anybody is talking about forced marriage between two men, or anything even close.

But there are those who have hang-ups when it comes to the concept of choice – if the choice that one person makes somehow manages to offend the moral compass of someone else.

PERSONALLY, THE IDEA of denying someone their freedom of choice is what offends my moral compass. But back to the issue, and the fact that our state’s legislators are not on the same side of this.

For the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday reported the musings of state Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, who says that a bill permitting gay couples to marry in Illinois could get legislative approval this coming week and that he’d like to have a final vote in the Illinois Senate on the issue one week from this coming Thursday.

That, of course, is Feb. 14, also known as Valentine’s Day. How sweet!

Although I’m sure there are some ideologues out there who are now gagging at the very thought of the commercial holiday for romance being used for such a gesture. Perhaps many of those people are Hoosiers who think their state’s officials are more in line with sense – although personally I can’t help but view them as being a couple of decades behind the times on this issue.

FOR IT SEEMS that the Indiana General Assembly has a state Constitution amendment pending – one that would set it in parchment that gay marriage is something that goes against the very being of being an Indiana resident (perhaps that is why Abe Lincoln left the state when he became an adult and moved to a more sensible place like Illinois).
The new political protest battleground?

The Times of Northwest Indiana newspaper reported Friday that Republican leadership in the Indiana Legislature has decided to wait a few months before doing anything with the proposed amendment that says a, “legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals (of the same gender) shall not be valid or recognized.”

They want to see if the Supreme Court of the United States offers any guidance when they rule (as expected) on the issue come June.

We literally could wind up with an issue where the state border becomes a political battleground marker. Are we literally going to get gay rights protests occurring at State Line Road in sight of all those Indiana-side stores that tout their ability to sell cheap cigarettes?

THE TIMES NEWSPAPER reported that Democratic legislative leaders in Indiana are saying they expect action on the issue to be delayed for at least one year, which they say is progress. Past Legislatures would have given a knee-jerk approval to the idea.

But learning of the Indiana idea reminded me way too much of 1996 when the then-Republican controlled Illinois Legislature felt compelled to alter state law to emphasize that marriages between gay couples (never permitted) were NOT valid.

That law, which then-Gov. Jim Edgar signed into law on a particularly busy legislative day when there was much other activity meant to occupy public attention, was an embarrassment. I still wonder why officials felt compelled to act, and I suppose we should be grateful that Illinois officials didn’t see the need to muck up our state constitution like Indiana is considering.

But seriously, we in Illinois got this out of our systems a couple of decades ago, and are now getting with the program on this issue – even though I expect a few die-hards to fight this fight to the very end.

DOES THAT MEAN the people living east of State Line Road will finally follow Illinois’ lead some time about 2030?

That thought is almost as laughable as the tale of Steven Robbins – who was serving a 60-year prison sentence at the state prison near Michigan City. Until he made an appearance Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court on drug-related charges that were dropped.

Somebody on our side goofed, and Robbins was allowed to leave the Criminal Courts building. The Gary native with extensive family in and around Indianapolis gets to be our state’s newest resident.



No comments: