With the news in, Thursday, that the Illinois state senate approved same-sex marriage with the prior committee approval of a bill titled the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, Senate Bill 10, which is the revised version of a previous bill that passed through the end of the 97th General Assembly.
It now moves to the Illinois House where it will be debated, and if approved, will be signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn, making Illinois the 10th state in the Union to pass same-sex marriage; the only other Midwestern state with same-sex marriage is Iowa.
Supporters, as well as the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) are cautiously optimistic.
Steans said, "This is a proud day for Illinois, and today's vote is the critical first step toward becoming the tenth state with equal marriage, and both public opinion and the vote in this chamber demonstrate we can reform civil marriage - so that the law treats all committed couples with fairness and dignity - without jeapordizing the rights of religous groups."
The bill has enjoyed widespread support by Quinn, and Chicago Mayor, Rham Emanuel, a slew of bi-partisan politicians, including Judy Barr Topinka, Illinois Comptroller, who told Gay Chicago TV at the Equality Illinois Gala, "Hey, fair is fair. For goodness sakes, if people want to get married, let them have the right to be in love and have family life and all that good stuff. Go for it!"
According to AP reports, and by Crain’s Chicago Business, former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., has been charged with conspiring to spend campaign funds on personal expenses, along with his wife former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson has been charged with filing false tax returns.
The charges total expenditures of $750,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses, including a $43,000 Rolex watch, home improvements, and Jackson has agreed to plead guilty to the charges.
A 57-month prison term, repayments of part of the $750,000 is expected.
The charges, not unknown in the politically corrupt atmosphere of Chicago politics, also strikes a blow to the legacy of the Jackson family, and the old-guard legacy of civil rights, as personified by Jesse Jackson, Sr. is tarnished, as the old demons of greed, and desire rear their heads.
Perhaps ironic is the victory of Barack Obama, as president, who managed to leapfrog over such veterans of the civil rights movement, and who was able to nearly single-handed redefine African-American political life, and on whom many officials, who like the younger Jacksons, subsequently rode his coattails through alignment; no matter how tenuous, across the nation.
The Jackson charges might belie what black historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr. called “the grand achievement of a great collective dream” with the election of Barack Obama to the nations’ top job.
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