With the fervor fading over folk singer Michelle Shocked's confusing commentary on gay marriage, it's time to delve back into the practical: votes. Last year's presidential election brought statements of support on the issue from Ben Gibbard and fun., but the battle for marriage equality is one that's currently being fought out at the state level.
Illinois' SB10 bill — the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act — was approved at the local Senate level on Valentine's Day, and now advocates are awaiting a decision from the state House of Representatives. So far, outlets are reporting that the measure is shy of the 60 votes it'll need to pass, so Wilco main brain Jeff Tweedy has issued a plea for support.
The Chicago-area resident wrote in to the Belleville News-Democrat to share his thoughts in a matter-of-fact manner. "In my travels," he notes, "I've witnessed firsthand that gay and lesbian couples want to marry for the same reasons all of us do — to share a lifetime of commitment. I feel very strongly that everyone should be able to marry the person he or she loves and enjoy the dignity and respect that comes with that commitment." (Read the full text below.)
Speaking of commitments, the fundraising auction for an eight-hour recording sesh with Boss Tweedy has wrapped up — a bidder named Zttam won the thing for a whopping $50,250. Tweedy produced Low's excellent new long-player, The Invisible Way (hear "So Blue," "Just Make it Stop," and "Plastic Cup") and Wilco recently rolled out the lineup for their June Solid Sound festival.
I was raised in Belleville and still happily reside in Illinois. Over the last few decades, I've had the good fortune as a member of the band Wilco to play music in every state in the union and in countless other countries. In my travels, I've witnessed firsthand that gay and lesbian couples want to marry for the same reasons all of us do -- to share a lifetime of commitment. I feel very strongly that everyone should be able to marry the person he or she loves and enjoy the dignity and respect that comes with that commitment.
By excluding same-sex couples from marriage, our state saddles them, their children and itself with second-class status. That is wrong, and it hurts Illinois families and businesses.
Nine other states have already extended the freedom to marry to gay and lesbian couples. I work and have friends in all those states, and I can say assuredly that it's time for Illinois to join them. Waiting and sending the signal that we're not open to and supportive of that community is a big mistake. The time is now.
I hope you'll join me in calling on the Illinois General Assembly to give same-sex couples the freedom to marry by supporting SB 10.