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Mayor: Sunday’s Pride parade will have added significance because gay-marriage bill stalled

Updated: June 25, 2013 9:34PM

Sunday’s Gay Pride Parade in Chicago will take on added political significance because of what didn’t happen in Springfield, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday. The Il. General Assembly adjourned without even considering a bill to legalize gay marriage. It happened after an emotional State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) announced to a House chamber filled with gay and lesbian couples prepared to witness history that he would not call the bill because he didn’t have the votes. On Tuesday, Emanuel said a Gay Pride Parade that has long been a must-attend for prominent politicians—and a chance for the gay community to flex its formidable political muscle—will make an even louder statement this year. “What the parade will recognize is the long journey that we’ve been [on] as a country, let alone a city and a state, towards bringing equality so gay and lesbian members, when you used to talk about them as being in the closet, can be full citizens,” the mayor said. “They are our parents. They are our aunts and uncles. They are our brothers and sisters. They are our teachers. They are police officers. They are our doctors and our nurses they. They are our neighbors. And they are people who have a lot to contribute. The legislation would only confirm their contribution and their love for each other.” After the November election, Emanuel ranked legalizing gay marriage as his No. 3 legislative priority in Springfield–behind pension reform and a Chicago casino—and said he planned to get “very involved” in passing a gay marriage bill. The mayor followed through on that promise, by turning up the heat on state lawmakers in a failed attempt to put the bill over the top in the Il. House. In an e-mail to the vast network of supporters he created during the mayoral campaign, Emanuel created a vehicle for gay marriage proponents to pressure their state representatives with the click of a mouse. “The clock is ticking,” Emanuel wrote then. Gay marriage proponents were urged to “click here to send a message to your Representative now.” The mayor’s e-mail includes a separate link for those who want to “urge the House to pass [Senate Bill] 10 and extend marriage to all Illinois families.” It didn’t work. The Legislature adjourned without taking a vote because Harris didn’t have the votes. Now, the mayor who lobbied hard for civil unions is turning up the heat again. “I do think there’s an urgency for us as a state to go on record and pass legislation and finish the job to respect when two adults love each other,” he said. “I see it constantly where you can see two fathers raising a child. Two mothers raising a daughter or a son. That speaks to who we are. The legislation would only confirm those are our values as a city and those are our values as a state.”

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