A Republican state senator in Illinois introduced legislation Tuesday to repeal the state’s new marriage equality law, which takes effect this June.
But with a Senate and House controlled by Democrats — who just voted in favor of marriage equality in November — and a governor who pressed for equal marriage rights in the state, advocates say Sen. Kyle McCarter is simply playing to his base of conservative Republicans.
McCarter introduced Senate Bill 2637 to repeal the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which passed last fall, and amend the state’s marriage statute to redefine marriage as between one man and one woman.
“[McCarter] knows it’s not going to go anywhere,” said Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), who was he chief sponsor of the marriage equality bill in the Senate. “He’s just doing this to show his constituents.”
Last October, the Illinois House narrowly passed the marriage equality law, but the Senate approved the legislation with a wide margin — both last February in a 34-21 vote and again in November to concur with the House in a 32-21 vote.
“This is just politics,” said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda, an LGBT rights group. “It’s an election year in Illinois and whenever that happens there’s always legislators who introduce legislation that will really go nowhere, but appeals to their base and I think that’s exactly what he’s done here.”
Martinez said he has been monitoring new measures introduced that would attempt to set back pro-LGBT legislation.
“We have seen in the past with the civil unions act and the gay rights amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act that there tends to be attacks on gains made by the LGBT community,” he said. “We are checking to make sure that if these bills are introduced that they are addressed and that we fight against them.”
Messages were left with McCarter’s district and Capitol office seeking comment.