In Illinois, there is a civil union law, but civil marriage is limited to opposite-sex couples. Lambda Legal and the ACLU are suing Illinois (technically, they’re suing Cook County Clerk of Courts David Orr. Orr, who is personally pro marriage equality, has stated his support for their lawsuit).
Interestingly, the Attorney General of Illinois, Lisa Madigan, has announced that she will seek to intervene in the case — not to defend the law, but to join LL and the ACLU’s side. Jacob Combs writes:
With both Orr and Madigan expressing support for the lawsuits, it’s an open question now as to who will actually defend the constitutionality of the civil unions law in court. David Orr would normally be represented in court by Anita Alvarez, the state attorney for Cook County, but it is unclear if the Democratic attorney will opt to defend the law, especially after Madigan’s announcement.
In California, when both the Governor and Attorney General declined to support Proposition 8 in court, the constitutional amendment’s official backers intervened in court to defend it. In Illinois, however, there are no ballot proponents to stand up for the civil unions law (since it was enacted legislatively and not by a popular vote), and Democrats control both chambers of the legislature. It will be interesting to see who steps forward to defend the law, and if the courts decide to allow them to do so.
The most prominent anti-marriage-equality group in Illinois appears to be Defend Marriage Illinois — but looking at their website suggests that, as anti-marriage-equality groups go, they’re not very sophisticated. The website hasn’t been updated in months (the front page is still devoted to gathering signatures for their failed anti-equality initiative). Furthermore, rather than putting on the slick “we have nothing against gays and this has nothing to do with religion” mask other state anti-equality orgs have successfully used, their website is openly religious and anti-gay. Take this, quoted from their website’s front page:
Why the traditional institution of marriage must be defended
Marriage is the cornerstone of civilization. It is in danger of being radically redefined by so-called “progressive” pro-homosexual activists, politicians and judges — in the name of “equality.” The truth is that there is no equal to God’s standard for marriage: ONE Man, ONE Woman.
What is wrong with same-sex “marriage”?
1. It Is Not Marriage
2. It Violates Natural Law
3. It Always Denies a Child Either a Father or a Mother
4. It Validates and Promotes the Homosexual Lifestyle
5. It Turns a Moral Wrong into a Civil Right
6. It Does Not Create a Family but a Naturally Sterile Union
7. It Defeats the State’s Purpose of Benefiting Marriage
8. It Imposes Its Acceptance on All Society
9. It Is the Cutting Edge of the Sexual Revolution
10. It Offends God
As a supporter of marriage equality, I would be delighted if the folks who run this website were permitted by the courts to intervene in this case to defend so-called traditional marriage.
But regardless of who does it, I do want someone to make the anti-equality arguments in an Illinois court; our court system is designed to be adversarial, and a court victory against an undefended law might lack the feel of legitimacy.