The Illinois state Senate voted 32 to 21 in favor of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage on Thursday. The law would redefine marriage as the legal union of two people, not specifically a man and a woman. It would also convert civil unions to marriages within a year's time. Religious institutions and individuals that oppose homosexuality would not be required to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples.
Two years ago, Illinois passed historic civil union legislation. Now with the possibility of same-sex marriage being legalized, some conservative senators feel homosexuality is moving front and center in a threatening way. Senator Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) told reporters, "People have a right to live as they choose; they don't have the right to redefine marriage for all of us." Same-sex marriage has plenty of supporters, however, one being Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D), who says that "when two people love each other, no government entity should stand in the way of letting them express that love."
Governor Pat Quinn (D says he will sign the bill into the law if it passes in the state House, however it is unclear if the legislation will be brought to the House floor. This is the farthest a same-sex marriage bill has gotten in the Illinois General Assembly. If the bill is signed into law, it would make Illinois the 10th state to legalize same sex marriage.
Media Resources: Sources: Chicago Tribune 2/15/2013; New York Times 2/14/2013; Reuters 2/14/2013; Feminist Daily Newswire 1/08/2013
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .