News Column

Same-sex Marriage Supporters Fight Back

May 13, 2013

Supporters of same-sex marriage legislation in Illinois are fighting fire with fire in East St. Louis, by targeting a "robocall" campaign there.

"I urge you to support the majority of Illinoisans," civil rights leader Julian Bond says in an automated call going out to residents in East St. Louis and other Illinois African-American communities today.

"I know something about fighting for what's fair and just," Bond, former president of the NAACP, says in the recording. "Gay and lesbian couples have the same values as everyone else: Love commitment and stable families. They should have the same right to marry as the rest of us."

A second robocall is voiced by former Chicago Bear linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who introduces himself as "the son of a biracial couple." He urges recipients to support same-sex marriage legislation as a fairness issue.

"It's time to let the world know that Illinois accepts all people regardless of who they love," he says in the call.

Some African-American lawmakers, including Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson, have been on the fence about the proposal, which would make Illinois the 12th state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. As the Post-Dispatch reported today, a coalition of black religious leaders in Chicago who oppose the measure have aimed robocalls at East St. Louis and other African-American communities in an attempt to pressure those legislators to vote against it.

Polls have found black voters are often more hesitant to support same-sex unions, because of strong Christian tradition in African-American communities.

The measure, SB10, has passed the Senate and is pending in the House. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has said he will sign it if it reaches his desk.

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Source: Copyright St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) 2013