McCarter dropping effort to repeal gay marriage

News-DemocratFebruary 24, 2014 

State Sen. Kyle McCarter.

DERIK HOLTMANN — dholtmann@bnd.com

— State Sen. Kyle McCarter says he'll no longer pursue efforts to repeal Illinois' same-sex marriage law, in light of a court ruling last week.

McCarter, R-Lebanon, filed a bill last month to repeal the gay marriage law.

Last week, a federal judge in Chicago ruled that gay couples can begin marrying in Cook County, even though the state's same-sex marriage law doesn't take effect until June 1. The judge ruled that banning gay marriage violates the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, and there's no reason to delay implementation of gay marriage.

"It was my intention when I submitted Senate Bill 2637 this year to repeal the law which redefined legal marriage within Illinois law because the people of Illinois were not given a realistic chance to weigh in on an issue of immense and radical cultural change," McCarter said. "Given the level of influence and corruption we have witnessed by the well-connected and special interest groups in recent years, I am not convinced the will of the people was met by the original passage (of the same-sex marriage law)."

The federal judge's ruling was limited to Cook County, because that was the only county named in the suit filed on behalf of a handful of gay couples. But McCarter said he expects the ruling's impact will spread.

McCarter said there should have been public hearings held before the legislature decided last year to allow gay marriage.

He said the ruling is "disappointing because of the radical change to our culture that the same-sex marriage law ushers in and the fact citizens in general were given no adequate voice in the decision-making."

Equality Illinois, a gay rights group, said in a statement that it will ask other counties, besides Cook, to also begin allow gay marriages prior to the law's effective date of June 1.

"The federal court's ruling responded to a lawsuit filed in Cook County and applies initially only to the Cook County Clerk's office, but clerks in the other 101 counties can take official notice of the decision and its reasoning. We will be reaching out to county clerks all around the state hoping that they will also be persuaded by the judge's rationale. After all, the federal court said that it is unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples marriage licenses," the group said.

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