Marriage equality advocates will be gathering at noon today (Central Time) at the Illinois state capitol in Springfield to push for House passage of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (SB 10), which the state Senate passed in February.
Watch LIVE by clicking here or in the box to the right. The video stream will go live about 11:45 am. You can also find the March on Facebook and Twitter. Hashtags for the event are #IL4M and #ILCantWait.
Passage of the bill is more urgent than ever since the U. S. Supreme Court invalidated Sec. 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act earlier this year, allowing married same-sex couples access to the federal benefits of marriage.
The federal benefits of marriage are substantial, including “access to Social Security survivors’ benefits; the option to use family medical leave to care for a spouse; the opportunity to sponsor a foreign-born spouse for citizenship; and access to veterans’ spousal benefits,” according to Lambda Legal’s fact sheet about the DOMA decision.
But the federal benefits of marriage are not available to couples in a civil union or domestic partnership. A couple must be legally married to access them.
This means that the facade of legal equality that opponents of marriage equality claim civil unions embody has fallen. Civil unions and domestic partnerships never even lived up to their ideal of providing legal equality for same-sex couples at the state level. Now, with federal benefits available to married same-sex couples, civil unions are even more unfair and limiting than before.
Illinois civil unions, once a cup half full, are now a cup more than half empty.
The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act enjoys wide-ranging support from Illinois voters, President Barack Obama, Gov. Pat Quinn, former Illinois GOP Chair Pat Brady and former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman, African American leaders, clergy and faith leaders, and so many others.
Once the law is passed, Illinois will become the 15th state (plus the District of Columbia) to treated all loving, committed couples equally under the law.
Today’s March on Springfield for Marriage Equality program:
- 11:55 am — National Anthem
- 12:00 to 1 pm — Rock the March Concert
- 1 pm — Welcome by Governor Patrick Quinn & Senator Dick Durbin
- 1 pm to 2:30 pm — Rally with speakers from LGBT, labor, immigration, women’s health, business, sports and faith communities.
- 2:30 pm — March begins, led by drummers and marching band.
- 2:30 to 3:30 pm — March around the Capitol