Illinois State Representative Greg
Harris, the highest-ranking openly gay elected official in the state,
believes Illinois needs to move from civil unions for gay and lesbian
couples to full marriage.
Appearing Thursday on Gay
Chicago TV's Critical Thinking, Harris said the civil
unions law which he authored does not offer full equality.
Gay rights advocates last month filed
two legal challenges to the state's ban on equal marriage rights for
Harris said the lawsuit – a judge
last week combined
the two – shows that civil unions, which took effect last June,
are not good enough.
“I think the lawsuits that we are
seeing move through the courts right now are showing clearly that ...
all over the state, there are numerous instances where families are
being denied their basic rights under civil unions,” Harris said.
“So, what we are seeing is that
separate is not equal. And that we need to move to full marriage
equality so that people are treated equally under the eyes of the
law. But more importantly, so that their community, their neighbors,
their fellow congregants at church, or temple, also look at their
relationship in the same way they would look at the relationship of
another married couple.”
Harris has introduced legislation which
would legalized marriage in the state. The earliest lawmakers could
take a vote on it is during the upcoming fall session.