Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Draws Opposition, Support for Marriage Equality Stance

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com November 16 2012 7:16 PM ET

A certified hate group has responded to Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel’s call to enact marriage equality in Illinois with a homophobic screed on its blog, while a statement of support has come from pro-gay Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn.

The Illinois Family Institute, designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for circulating defamatory lies about LGBT people, published a post today on its Illinois Review blog about Emanuel’s statement this week that passing a marriage equality bill should be a priority for the state. In the post, Family Institute cultural analyst Laurie Higgins says such legislation would “lead the way to the destruction of real marriage by pretend marriage.”

She also writes, “Homosexuals are not denied the right to marry. They choose not to participate in this sexually complementary institution,” that is, marriage to a person of the opposite sex. Government, she says, “has a vested interest in recognizing, regulating, and promoting the type of relationship that can produce children — whether or not any particular couple has children.” She goes on to denounce Emanuel for including sexual orientation alongside race in his discussion of Chicago’s diversity, saying, “The intellectually vacuous comparison of race to homosexuality … is the flawed analogy upon which the entire homosexuality-affirming house of cards is built.”

“Emanuel is not advocating for equality,” Higgins continues. “He’s advocating for the unilateral redefinition of marriage by homosexuals to serve their desires.”

A more supportive response comes from Tribune columnist Zorn, a reliably gay-friendly commentator, who seconds Emanuel’s motion in a post on his Change of Subject blog. Noting the victories for marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, and Washington on Election Day, he writes, “All Illinois can do now is hop on the train of history. The trend lines show it’s about to roll over the obstinate states where legislators refuse to recognize the inevitability, if not the wisdom and justice, of same-sex couples getting the same rights to formalize their relationships that are enjoyed by opposite-sex couples.”

On the possibility that the marriage equality bill introduced by the state’s openly gay legislators could come up for consideration as the current term winds to a close (the new session begins in January), he writes that “25 members of the House and 16 members of the Senate are lame ducks, free to vote their consciences or to listen to voices from the future congratulating them on their timely abandonment of ancient prejudices.” The only question to ask, he says, is “Why not now?”