Miller: Bad week for Illinois Senate Democrats
Thursday was not exactly a banner day for the Illinois Senate Democratic leadership. In high-profile moves, leadership’s attempts to pass a bill legalizing gay marriage stalled, as did bills on gun control. Even a much-needed spending bill was unable to move out of committee. Pension reform went nowhere. The biggest winners were cigarette makers, of all people.
The gay marriage bill turned out to be a dud. Opponents pointed out some serious issues with the bill’s drafting, which, for instance, would have appeared to mandate that facilities owned by churches or religious groups allow same-sex marriage ceremonies. Proponents denied that, but they seemed to be on shaky ground.
The measure was moved forward at the behest of some wealthy financial backers who appeared to dictate the timing, which is never a good thing in Springfield. Backers say that three senators who were supposed to vote for the bill were not at the Statehouse and that kept them from passing it. But even if that was true, the drafting questions likely would have doomed the measure in the House. And the millionaire-funded media blitz just didn’t work. Media blitzes, no matter how awesome to behold, aren’t effective at the Statehouse if the actual bill is flawed and the votes aren’t there.
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