A celebratory banner is hung Tuesday in front of Sidetrack in Boystown. (Brian Cassella/Chicago…)
The Illinois General Assembly passed a gay marriage bill Tuesday, setting the stage for the state to become the 15th to legalize same-sex unions. We asked five RedEye special contributors for their reactions.
A time for celebration
Usually I would take this moment to rain on the parade. Typical Zach would remind everyone that same-sex marriage still is not legal across the nation, or that thousands of LGBT youths in Illinois experience homelessness each year, or a number of other depressing facts. But today I am just going to say: We did it. WE DID IT. And I have never been prouder of my colleagues, friends, people I don't know and even people I may not want to know who all helped make this a reality. Though this will not solve LGBTQ inequality, it is another step in the right direction. Now ... who wants some champagne?! —Zach Stafford, @zachstafford
'Hugs' and 'victory'
I didn't really walk home from work Tuesday night. I kinda danced. My phone was blowing up with texts. "Victory." "Hugs." "[Bleep] yes." "Celebrate?" Why yes, I believe a celebration is in order. We did it. We beat the Packers. Er, just kidding, we passed gay marriage! Boom. Although I'm nowhere close in my life to walking down the aisle, the knowledge that my (eventual) same-sex marriage will be equal under the law is hugely validating. Marriage equality truly does break down the second-class citizenship that lingers over the LGBT community. Cheers to Illinois. —Annie Reed, @annie_e_313
It's about time
While there will be time for analysis in the coming days, I can't help but sit back, take off my journalist hat and let the tears of happiness wash down my face. This isn't just a piece of legislation—this is a very personal moment of recognition for me and my family. You see, I have been with my husband for 12 years. This will be the first time in all of those years that we will live in a state that recognizes our marriage, our commitment and our love. So while there is much work do to in our quest for equality, tonight I will pull my husband close, share tears of joy and celebrate this moment of history not just for our state, but for our family. —Waymon Hudson, @waymonhudson
This was a no-brainer
Clearly it's an important victory for the LGBT community. But in Illinois—the president's home, no less—becoming the 15th state to recognize something as fundamentally progressive as marriage equality just feels like a long-awaited exhale. It's hard to get excited when our representatives do what they're supposed to do, when a government grants its citizens a right they've always had but were denied for so long. Our great representatives down in Springfield still have a lot they need to get done, such as passing a pension overhaul and salvaging the education system, not to mention balancing the budget. Marriage equality should've been a no-brainer. —Hector Luis Alamo Jr., @hectorluisalamo
Love conquers all
To say it's about time is an understatement. We are now officially one of the cool states. What makes this amazing for the LGBT community is that we now have options—real options—such as marriage, divorce and filing taxes together. Now marriage is finally defined purely as love. As cheesy as that sounds, two people who love each other can now marry without any government roadblocks. Finally, I can say this aloud: Marriage is between a person and a person. —Lenox Magee, @lenoxmagee