President Barack Obama is encouraging legislators in his home state of Illinois to legalize gay marriage this week, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The state only just established civil unions earlier in this legislative term.
“While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye told the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday.
“As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so. Were the President still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally,” Inouye said.
Obama never advocated for civil unions or gay marriage during his eight years as a state senator (1997-2005).
The urgency with which the state’s Democrat-dominated legislature has taken up the issue of gay marriage over the past two years contrasts sharply with its refusal to tackle the pressing problem of state debt. Illinois has the lowest debt rating of any state, according to some ratings agencies, and has the nation’s worst public pension crisis, with unfunded liabilities approaching $100 billion. Gov. Pat Quinn (D) raised income taxes 66% two years ago, which barely made a dent in the state’s deficits but was quickly followed by the nation’s worst job losses.
Obama has not urged the state to deal with its deficits, debts, and pensions, nor did he do so as a state senator.
In addition, Obama’s adopted home town of Chicago has now logged 500 homicides for 2012. The killings have continued despite the fact that Chicago gun control laws are among the toughest in the nation. Local leaders have grumbled for four years that Obama has done nothing to help stop the violence–neither signing laws nor using the bully pulpit of the presidency. Obama’s former chief of staff, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, has been reduced to pleading with gangsters not to target small children, appealing to their shared “values.”
Obama famously missed a key gun control vote in December 1999, when he was on vacation in Hawaii instead of working in Springfield, the state capital. The Safe Neighborhoods Act failed by just a few votes, and the ensuing furor may have cost him his primary race for U.S. Congress against incumbent Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL).
Yet Obama has never made amends as President by addressing the ongoing violence in Chicago.
In sum: Obama, who cannot be bothered to address his home state’s fiscal, economic and social crises, who did nothing about these issues or about gay marriage when he was a state legislator, and who only recently “evolved” to accept gay marriage, now demands that Illinois pass its second gay marriage bill this term.