On Friday, the Illinois legislature ended its session, failing to pass a much-anticipated same-sex marriage bill.
The New York Times reports that the bill’s failure to reach a vote in the State House was apparently due to a lack of votes supporting the redefinition—despite a Democratic supermajority. President Obama, along with Governor Pat Quinn (D) and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel (D), urged passage of the bill.
Given such political winds, many had cast Illinois an easy “win” for advocates of redefining marriage. According to one news outlet, “The failure of the measure in Illinois interrupts that narrative.”
“The momentum has been stopped,” said David Smith of the Illinois Family Institute. “It shows that it’s not as popular with people as the national media is telling us.”
A bipartisan coalition opposed the effort. The House Black Caucus also expressed hesitancy on the bill and African American clergy were prominent in opposition. Legal scholars deemed the bill as the worst of its kind for failing to protect religious liberty.
What occurred in Illinois reveals that the redefinition of marriage is not inevitable as it is sometimes portrayed to be. Many Americans have concerns about redefining our most basic social institution. It’s time for a serious, robust debate about marriage—about what it is, why it matters, and the consequences of redefining it.
As Americans await the June U.S. Supreme Court decision on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the debate going on in Illinois and across the country is a powerful reminder that individuals and states—not courts—should have the power to make marriage policy. The Supreme Court should allow the democratic process to work and let the debate on marriage continue.
The timeless institution of marriage is one worth defending. Marriage unites a man and woman to become husband and wife to be a father and mother to any children their union produces. Studies indicate that children tend to do best with a married mother and father. Same-sex marriage denies that a child needs both a mom and dad, prioritizing the desires of adults over the needs of children.
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