Ill. Same-Sex Marriage Sponsor Facing Backlash | St. Louis Public Radio

Ill. Same-Sex Marriage Sponsor Facing Backlash

Jun 3, 2013

The sponsor of same-sex marriage legislation is facing a backlash for not calling it for a vote before the Illinois General Assembly adjourned on Friday. 

Gay rights activists praised Rep. Greg Harris in 2011 for helping pass civil unions. Some of those same activists are now criticizing him.

Harris was tearful when he announced just before the House adjourned its spring session that there would  be no vote because he didn't believe it could pass. But immediately after, political director of The Civil Rights Agenda, Rick Garcia, put the blame squarely on Harris. 

Ill. Rep. Greg Harris is facing backlash for not calling same-sex marriage legislation for a vote before the General Assembly adjourned on Friday, May 31, 2013.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Garcia says the effort was doomed from the start because Harris didn't do enough to reach out to African Americans or Latino legislators, nor were minority lobbyists heavily involved.

"All of a sudden, you have all these old, rich white guys running around spreading their money to other white guys who know nothing," Garcia said. "And that is really why we lost."

The publisher of the LBGT newspaper, the Windy City Times, echoed that sentiment and is calling on Harris to step down as the measure's sponsor.

But Equality Illinois - a gay rights group from which Garcia was fired more than two years ago - issued a statement of support for Rep. Harris and denounced calls for him to resign.