Barack Obama is endorsing efforts in Illinois to legalize homosexual marriage, according to a White House spokesman.
While it is rare for presidents to weigh in on individual state matters, Obama, who formerly served as a senator in Illinois, has voiced his support of plans to propose a law this week in the state legislature.
“Were the president still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally,” stated White White House spokesman Shin Inouye. “[He believes] it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships and want to marry from doing so.”
While he previously had stated that he could not go so far as to support same-sex “marriage,” in May of this year, Obama told reporters that his beliefs about the matter had “evolved.”
During a national interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts, he explained, “[W]hen I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
Obama’s May announcement was met with much disappointment from evangelicals, and much applause from homosexual groups. One of the most outspoken opponents of Obama’s decision, and the Democratic Party’s actions in general, was Bishop E.W. Jackson, executive director of Ministers Taking a Stand.
“The Democrat Party has equated homosexuality with being black, which is another outrageous lie,” Jackson, an Africa American minister, said in an online video. “Anybody who dares equate the gay rights movement to the history of black Americans is exploiting the black community. … No Christian should support this.”
Nonetheless, a number of states have continued to present legislation allowing for same-sex relationships to be recognized within its borders. While over 30 states have passed constitutional amendments enshrining marriage as being between a man and a woman, six have legalized the practice via the actions of lawmakers, and three more have done so at the polls.
According to reports, Illinois Senator Heather Steans plans on introducing a proposal in the Illinois state legislature later this week during its lame duck session in an effort to push the plan through the House and Senate. Most Democrats in the state have been supportive of homosexuality, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former White House staffer in the Obama administration, who has regularly attended homosexual pride parades in the city.
Additionally, the Chicago Tribune reports that the homosexual advocacy group Illinois Unites for Marriage, which is comprised of Equality Illinois, the Illinois chapter of the ACLU and Lambda Legal, plans to also issue a letter to legislators from various businesses throughout the state that claim that homosexuality is good for the economy. Google, Joe Mansueto of Morningstar and PrivateBancorp Inc. Chairman Norman Bobins are said to be among the signees.