illinois gay marriage
Jim Darby, Patrick Bova

The ayes have it: 34-21-2 (PDF), as gay marriage in Illinois passes the Senate en route to the House. One Republican crossed party lines, Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington). Four Democrats voted against it: Gary Forby, John Sullivan, and William Haine.

Haine, of Alton, announced that he was co-sponsoring an amendment that would define marriage as being exclusively between a man and a woman:

"Strong families make sure that their children are taught good manners and are given the tools they need to succeed. Our community understands and values the traditional family, and I will continue to defend the values we hold dear."

There were other arguments against gay marriage. Kyle McCarter (R-Vandalia, B.S. in accounting from Oral Roberts), for instance:

[Scratches head.] It's not really what the data about gay Illinois couples getting married in Iowa suggest.

More from McCarter:

Anyway, it's not about the economics, either; it's about this:

I’m a veteran of the Korean War. In the nineties, we would go to Washington every year to meet with Congress to ask them to lift the ban against gay people in the military. And every year, after lobbying, we would go to Congressional Cemetery and do a wreath-laying at the grave of Sergeant Leonard Matlovich, the Air Force sergeant who came out in 1975 on the cover of Time. In 1995, a reverend from Metropolitan Community Churches was there, and I casually asked, “Would you marry us?” She said yes. —JIM DARBY

We gave our vows extemporaneously. We both started to cry—it was very moving. When we were going to get our civil union license, we weren’t as excited about it as 21-year-olds might have been. It’s like launching a different phase of life, and we had been through that already. But everybody else was really excited. It was wonderful. —PATRICK BOVA

This Valentine's Day would be a good one to revisit "From This Day Forward," Lena Singer's 2011 piece on Illinois on some of the first couples in the state to unite under the then-new civil unions law. When she talked to them, Darby and Bova, pictured above, had been together for 47 years.


Photograph: Taylor Castle