‘Civil Unions’ Decisively Defeated in Illinois — a Pro-Family Victory with National Significance

Heartland rallies against faux “gay marriage,” which is not inevitable, after all

wgn_prop-8_reaction.jpgNo “Civil Unions” in Illinois: thanks to an energetic grassroots campaign, pro-homosexual “civil unions” legislation (H.B. 2234) — ridiculously titled the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act — was rejected decisively by the Illinois General Assembly. Homosexual activist Rick Garcia’s prediction that H.B. 2234 would “absolutely” pass did not come true. as Garcia’s allies fell well short of the backing needed to call for a floor vote — despite their huge, well-funded lobbying campaign. Americans For Truth made the case against “civil unions’ and “gay marriage” on WGN-TV (left), Moody Radio (WMBI), WIND (Geoff Pinkus Show) and in the Chicago Tribune.  AFTAH’s Peter LaBarbera’s argued in a Tribune religious reporter’s blog that “gay marriage” and “civil union” laws violate business owners’ freedom of conscience.

TAKE ACTION: Thank your state House legislator (call Springfield at 217-782-2000; go to http://ilga.gov/ or find your representative at www.congress.org) if he or she opposed the “civil unions” legislation. Express your gratitude to them for NOT BUCKLING to the enormous, well-funded pro-“gay” lobbying blitz in Springfield.  Also call your state senator and ask for his or her stance on “civil unions” — since the main battle was in the House. Stay vigilant in this battle, as homosexual activists are already vowing to lobby key districts over the summer.

By Peter LaBarbera

Pro-family grassroots forces in Illinois have scored a stunning victory with the decisive defeat of “civil unions” legislation, (H.B. 2234/S.B. 1716) — despite the prediction of the state’s leading homosexual activist that “civil unions” would “absolutely” be voted on and passed (by last Wednesday), and overcoming a massive and well-funded lobbying campaign by pro-homosexual groups.

Despite some some very premature gloating by homosexual activists across the country who thought a victory was in the bag, and despite some dirty tactics and lies, time ran out in the Illinois General Assembly Sunday night with the bill not even being called due to lack of support in the House.

Moreover, it appears the massive pro-gay lobby blitz for HB 2234 (12-13 full-time paid lobbyists) did not even come close to securing the number of votes needed to pass the bill, disproving claims by pro-“civil unions” lobbyists and legislators in the last two weeks that the bill had more than enough votes to pass.

“Same-sex marriage” still doesn’t play in America’s heartland — which is why the “Gay” Lobby’s strategy in neighboring Iowa resorted to its imposition by liberal, arrogant judges.

The victory in the Land of Lincoln is an impressive rebuke to the current national “gay” movement’s talking point that same-sex “marriage is somehow inevitable.

Ralph Rivera, a veteran pro-family, pro-life lobbyist in Springfield for the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) — the AFA (American Family Association) state affiliate that led the opposition to HB 2234 — summed up the impressive victory:

Civil Unions bill – SB 1716 (HB 2234) – HAS BEEN STALLED DUE TO A SIGNIFICANT LACK OF VOTES!  WE GIVE GOD THE GLORY FOR THIS VICTORY!!!    Of course, the battle is not over — they will continue to try to use their huge war chest to try and pass a civil unions/same-sex “marriage” bill — but they didn’t do it this time.  As I had written to you, they hired a stable of high priced well known lobbyists, some from a powerful Chicago law firm, and after a “full court press” we are not aware of them getting any legislator to switch!  They admitted a couple of days ago that the votes for them are not there and that they don’t even have enough for “postponed consideration.”  This is a motion that is used when you the vote is at least 48 votes and the sponsor wants the roll call erased  and can have another vote later.  So they admitted to being at least 13 votes away.

The phone calls and letters to legislators by all of you did the job!  I heard from a number of House secretaries that the highest number of calls to their offices were on the income tax increase proposal (which so far has failed miserably) and civil unions (and that was in a big way our way).

The role of the Catholic Conference of Illinois was critical in the effort. Illinois’ bishops distributed a letter opposing HB 2234 — shamelessly titled the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act — which included the following warning on the threat it posed to religious freedom:

Please also consider the impending clash between religious liberty and this legislation. A title declaring religious liberty does not suffice when the text of the underlying legislation undermines the principle. Illinois statute refers to the term “spouse”over 500 times, granting rights and benefits ranging from employment benefits to adoption. All of those instances will apply to parties to civil unions, and the full impact of these changes has not been fully discerned or discussed. How this legislation will impact Church operations from the adoption and foster care services of Catholic Charities to benefits afforded to employees are bonafide concerns.

Pro-family veterans will recall that the imposition of “same-sex marriage” in Massachusetts led to the closing down of the Catholic Charities adoption agency in that state because the Catholic Church opposes the placement of children in homosexual households that are motherless or fatherless by design.
Dirty tactics, lies and bogus vote tallies

In an interview with AFTAH, Rivera of IFI said that the pro-“civil unions” lobbyists engaged in some dirty tactic and falsehoods in their desperate zeal to fulfill expectations that HB 2234 would pass. Nothing unusual there, except that in this case the sheer amount of professional lobbyists and outside money and activism pouring into the effort was remarkable, to the degree rarely seen in Springfield.

“People were coming out of nowhere” to lobby for the bill, Rivera said. Calls were streaming in to the Illinois legislators from out-of-state legislators (most from New York and the Northeast) and from pro-homosexual activists nationwide. Rivera said at one point he worried that some legislative secretaries were not taking down which calls that were from Illinois constituents as opposed to people from outside the district. Obviously, the calls from constituents are what matters — but ultimately it appears that state legislators understood that Illinois calls were heavily favoring the pro-traditional marriage position.

Rivera said legislators were told that “surveys” in their district showed overwhelming support for “civil unions,” but the legislators did not know about the methodology of the “survey.” He doubted their reliability and accuracy — and evidently so did most legislators who were unmoved by the intense pressure.

Apparently one female lobbyist even posed as the “wife” of a constituent to gain entree with a legislator, Rivera said. (The plan didn’t work as she was identified as one of the paid lobbyists pushing for HB 2234.)

False projections and misleading vote tallies were also common, according to Rivera, who has spent many years in Springfield along with Rev. Bob Vanden Bosch as the state’s two main pro-family lobbyists. Apparently, Chicago’s openly homosexual state representative Greg Harris (D), H.B. 2234’s main sponsor, was floating vote tallies that made it appear as if victory was close or certain. It is unclear if Harris also misled his homosexual ally, Garcia from Equality Illinois, perhaps fueling Garcia’s fateful promise of “absolute” victory. Legislators were told that the “civil unions” bill was just “one or two votes shy,” Rivera said, when in reality the pro-“gay” forces were at least a dozen votes short of what they needed.

New grassroots clout

The cumulative impact of the deceptions, liberal overconfidence and boasting, and turning back of such a well-funded, “professional,” pro-homosexual lobby campaign in Springfield will be to boost the stature and credibility of the pro-family movement in Illinois. Lobbyists like Rivera and Vanden Bosch (who earlier led the lobby effort — joined by the Catholic Conference — to turn back the radical, pro-abortion “Freedom of Choice Act”) will now have added clout when they tell legislators that while the LGBT side has lots of money and media support, the grassroots power in Illinois lies with the vast majority of citizens who do not want to see marriage radically redefined.

One sad footnote was the presence of former State Sen. Dave Sullivan — who as a Park Ridge Republican had a pro-life and pro-family voting record — among the paid lobbyists for HB 2234. Money talks.

Thank you for taking action

To all the AFTAH readers and pro-family Illinois voters who took action against this bill, I say a hearty “Thank you!”  And please join me in offering our collective congratulations and thanks to the coalition of marriage defenders that helped secure this victory: my friend Dave Smith and Illinois Family Institute, the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, FamilyPAC – and pro-family advocates like Mr. Rivera, fellow veteran pro-family lobbyist Rev. Bob Vanden Bosch (Concerned Christian Americans), Bob Gilligan and the Catholic Conference, Jack Roeser and the guys at Champion News, Elise Bouc, Illinois Review, and many others who worked so very hard to preserve traditional marriage in our state.

All across the country, cocky homosexual activists are behaving as if they’re pretty much already won the same-sex “marriage” debate. They repeat ad nauseam that “gay marriage” is “inevitable” across the USA — despite losing 30 out of 30 state marriage amendment ballot votes. It certainly is not inevitable. Here in deep blue Illinois, Barack Obama’s home state, we have turned back “civil unions” — which is essentially “same-sex marriage” by another name.The pro-homosexual forces tried to build support for the bill by putting “Religious Liberty” in the bill’s title, but that didn’t fool anyone. (See my comments about the threat to freedom of conscience posed by legalized state recognition of homosexual unions in this Chicago Tribune religion reporter’s blog.)

The Battle Continues

Even as we celebrate a much-needed win for pro-family forces across the nation, we must not let up one bit in this fight.  Here is the post-defeat e-mail message yesterday from Rick Garcia — who predicted “absolute” victory just days ago — and his homosexual lobby group Equality Illinois:

Equality Illinois will work throughout the Summer and Fall to
build popular support for civil unions in targeted legislative
districts. We must work hard to bring voters to our cause if we
are to convince their elected representatives to vote for civil
unions. And we will continue the long-term public education
necessary to achieve marriage equality.

For now, we suggest you contact your legislators’ district
offices to let them know how disappointed and frustrated you are
with their failure to secure passage of the civil union bill.
For a list of legislators and their contact information, click
here: http://ilga.gov/

They continue to work. So must we. Natural marriage in America will only be preserved if pro-family forces match the zeal and hard work of the pro-homosexuality movement. That happened in Illinois over the last few weeks and months and the result is a victory that will reverberate across the nation and give courage to Americans in every state not to believe the media when it echoes the homosexual activists’ propaganda about the “inevitability” of same-sex “marriage.”

rick_garcia.jpgHomosexual activist Rick Garcia’s prediction, thankfully, did not come true.

This article was posted on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 12:10 pm and is filed under "Civil Unions" & "Gay Marriage", "Civil Unions" & "Gay Marriage", A - What does the Bible say about homosexuality?, Candidates & Elected Officials, Illinois, News, Pending Legislation, The Bible, Churches, & Homosexuality. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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