To the Editor:
Though not surprised, I was disappointed my state senator, Kirk Dillard, voted against legalizing same sex marriage in Illinois on Feb. 14. Dillard is apparently locked into the self-destructive Republican mindset that opposes every progressive improvement in our society favored by the Democratic Party. But the drive for same-sex marriage, now legal in nine states and Washington, D.C., should not be a partisan political issue. It is purely a civil rights issue, something I've promoted and worked to achieve for over half a century. Last century, my focus was on full civil rights for African Americans, and I have always been proud of having played a tiny, individual role in seeing that dream of equality come to fruition.
Alas, man's capacity to discriminate against his fellow citizens is tough to stamp out. Here we are, 13 years into the 21st century, and we're still engaged in the latest campaign to grant full civil rights to a minority class that wants nothing other than to live and love in peace, doing no harm whatsoever to those denying them that basic right. The "do no harm" standard is the essence of when a majority must be prevented from legally exercising discriminating behavior against others.
Sadly, just one of 19 Republican state senators, Jason Barickman of Bloomington, broke with this outmoded Republican mindset to deny marriage equality to all Illinoisans. Now the marriage equality measure moves to the Illinois House, where its passage is still not assured. Besides Barickman, one other prominent Republican, Illinois State Republican Chairman Pat Brady, has parted company with the Republican mainstream, to support marriage equality in Illinois. My state representative, Sandy Pihos, has rebuffed all my entreaties these past five years to support marriage equality. I hope she will consider long and hard the courageous vote of Sen. Barickman, and the succinct words of her state party chairman Pat Brady: "Our party is on the wrong side of history."