Friday, January 21, 2005

Mark Brown on Illinois' gay rights law

Mark Brown in his Sun-Times column here has a great piece on an overlooked angle to Illinois' passage of civil rights protections for gays and lesbians.

Emil Jones, who helped convince the recalcitrant three Democratic State Senators Pal Welch (in one of his last votes), Lou Viverito and George Shadid to join with three Republicans and pass the gay rights bill out of the Senate, was inspired to support the bill in the 70s when he heard testimony from mothers of gays and lesbians who told how their sons and daughters were discriminated against.

It's worth a read, with one very minor quibble. The Cutback Amendment of 1980 that trimmed the size of the legislature devastated the Chicago Republican Party and the original sponsor of the bill Susan Catania by abolishing three-seat districts where the political minority could earn one of the three seats. That was the wonderful system where voters had cumulative voting rights (cast all three votes for one candidate) that we lost in 1980, and that we ought to revive. Mark skipped over that in his column (or some editor sliced it out).

3 comments:

Jeff Wegerson said...

Am I wrong in blaming Pat Quinn for the loss of cumulative voting or merely impolitic?

FightforJustice said...

Abolishing three-member districts and cumulative voting after 110 years will lead Quinn's obituary someday. It wouldn't have happened without Pat, who still defends it.

Jeff Wegerson said...

Still defends it? I hope he has to keep defending it over and over and over. Our own little GW Bush. Can't admit to a mistake.