State senator says Quinn may not have enough votes to pass civil unions

State Senator Mike Frerichs is surprised.

Gov. Pat Quinn said he thinks there are enough votes to pass a civil union bill that would make same-sex relationships legal in Illinois. Frerichs expressed to The Daily Illini Editorial Board on Monday that there might not be enough votes to get the bill passed.

“I don’t know what he was thinking,” said Frerichs, D-52. “Maybe he was privy to something I wasn’t.”

With elections on the way, Frerichs said he doesn’t see what political gain Quinn can get by making such a claim. Explaining that State Sen. Bill Brady, R-44, sponsored a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages, Frerichs said that for Quinn to state he would sign the bill wouldn’t necessarily “rally the troops.”

“If you were someone in support of the civil unions, you probably weren’t considering voting for Bill Brady,” Frerichs said.

State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-103, who has championed the bill since it was heard by the Human Services committee, said one of the reasons the act was not been called to be voted on was because State Rep. Greg Harris, D-13, who filed the act, did not feel he had the votes.

“There are some bills you don’t want to call if they are not going to pass,” Jakobsson said. “It’s better to just keep working on it and introduce it again.”

The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act defines civil unions as a relationship between a couple, same-sex or otherwise. The act would give same-sex couples the legal rights and responsibilities that other spouses share in the state of Illinois.

Though there have been many acts passed that support civil unions as well as gay marriages throughout the nation, the debate is still controversial for voters and politicians.

Republican candidate for District 103 Norman Davis told The Daily Illini Editorial Board he does not support gay marriage, explaining that he feels the term ‘marriage’ should be saved for religious institutions like churches “to use or not use as they see fit.”

While against gay marriages, Davis said he supports civil unions because they do not take on the same meaning that marriage does for churches and because same-sex relationships should not be discriminated against.

“I don’t believe that people should be discriminated on their sexual orientation any more than they should because of the color their skin,” Davis said.

Even with the support of other politicians, Frerichs said the gubernatorial election will have the final say as to whether the bill gets signed or vetoed.

“Around here there is such a big support for it,” Jakobsson said. “So I think when it does come for a vote, I’m ready to vote for it.”