A thank you to Naomi Jakobsson

By Daily Illini Editorial Board

Illinois will have same-sex marriage soon, but it came down to a close vote. For the bill to clear the House last week, where it was stalled on Valentine’s Day of this year, it needed 60 votes.

It received 61. 

One of those votes belonged to the bill’s co-sponsor, Champaign’s Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, who had spent the previous week in Mattoon with her son, who was dying of Pick’s disease. 

When Jakobsson learned that Rep. Greg Harris, chief sponsor of the bill, would put the highly debated legislation to a vote, Jakobsson left her son’s side to ensure all Illinoisans could enjoy the right to marry.

Her son died in the few hours when she was on her way back from Springfield.

For that selfless sacrifice, we thank Naomi Jakobsson. 

Repeatedly, she expressed how much this marriage bill meant to her — she wouldn’t have left her son’s side had it not. Jakobsson and her family will become an important piece of the fight for equal rights for LGBT individuals in this state. 

Members of the gay and lesbian community should know what she did, and they owe her their utmost gratitude.

This bill will bring so many people the happiness they have long been denied. It will bring existing families closer and forge new ones. 

It will give thousands of Illinoisans a right they deserve. 

But in light of this, we cannot and will not forget the sacrifice made. 

When we learned of Garret Jakobsson’s death, we were speechless. Even now, the right words to say thanks are hard to find. 

We offer the Jakobssons our condolences, and we hope they find solace as they helped countless Illinoisans find theirs in marriage.