Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th, who is gay makes an impassioned speech that included… (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune )
Chicago's elected officials are praising the Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act.
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), the city's first openly gay alderman, highlighted the "watershed" moment while speaking on a resolution supporting a two-day, 200-mile Ride for AIDS event in Chicago set for July 13-14.
"Today is an important day for our city and our country. You know what? It was only 5-4. Someday these decisions are going to be unanimous," Tunney said on the council floor.
The ruling means that same-sex couples who marry in states where it is legal will be treated the same under federal law as opposite-sex couples. Illinois law currently allows civil unions but not same-sex marriage. Tunney said he would like to see the state legislature "get its act together."
"Gays and lesbians are part of the city of Chicago. We are everywhere and we are normal human beings. We deserve equal rights and respect and dignity."
Tunney also noted that it was President Clinton who signed DOMA into law and Mayor Emanuel was part of that administration. But times and public sentiment have changed, he said.
In a statement issued shortly before Wednesday's City Council meeting, Emanuel called the decision a "major step forward" in the fight for equality.
"This decision should strengthen our commitment in the State of Illinois toward ensuring that the life-long commitments of all Americans are honored and respected by the law. The state should not be standing in the way of two people loving each other," the statement said.
"America has faced obstacles on our journey to equality before and we have always overcome them. The struggle for marriage equality will be no different."
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