May 22nd, 2008

peter's sassy research

Civil unions, ACLU, etc.

I don't usually post about politics on this journal, but this one time I'm going to bend my own rule. Yesterday I drove down to Springfield, the capital city of Illinois, in order to lobby for House Bill 1826, a bill which, if passed, will grant the protection of civil unions to gay couples in Illinois.

My mother and I spoke to our district's representative. He is a Republican, a conservative, and a very amiable man. He spoke with us for about five minutes, and listened to everything we had to say. And he also told us outright that he was voting No on the civil unions bill. Why? Because he honestly wasn't aware that gay couples in Illinois don't and aren't allowed to have the same protections and freedoms granted automatically to straight married couples.

He told us that committed gay couples could have the same protections as long as they filled out some extra paperwork: power of attorney, living wills, things like that. The problem is, all the papers in the world won't grant certain protections, including access to annulment and divorce laws. And even with paperwork, the lack of an easily verifiable legal connection can cause problems.

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Another reason why my district's representative was going to vote no on this bill? He had received hundreds of letters urging him to vote against it, and only a few urging the opposite. But I know there are good people in Illinois who want to do the right thing and might not know how.

So if you live in Illinois or know someone who does, and you believe in fairness for all people, please, please visit the ACLU's Illinois website. You can find your district's representative and send them a fax, email, or a postcard. If you're willing to take a little more time, you can send them a handwritten, personalized letter, which will have an even greater effect. And next Wednesday, the ACLU will be taking another group of people down to talk directly to their representatives. I highly recommend this trip; it was a great experience. I met some awesome people, and we really made a difference.

Even if you don't live in Illinois, you can go to the ACLU website and check out what's going on with civil unions in your state. If you live outside the US, um, rock on? There are a lot of other countries that already provide for gay unions/marriages, actually, so if you live in one of them, awesome! And if any of you know anyone who lives in Illinois who would be interested in supporting this bill, whether they're gay, straight, bi, or whatever, point them in this direction? Things will only change if we get enough people committed to changing them, which I think (I hope) we can!

Also, I'm gay and kind of adorable, so do it for me? *gives you a sweet, pathetic, pleading look*