Pro-family activism that makes a difference!

VICTORY: Pro-family forces stop "gay marriage" in Illinois legislature as session ends for summer

Defeated homosexual lobby despite overwhelming odds

POSTED: June 2, 2013

On Friday, May 31, the homosexual lobby admitted defeat in their efforts to pass "gay marriage" as the Illinois General Assembly recessed for the summer at the end of the day. They had hoped to get it passed before the US Supreme Court DOMA and Prop 8 decisions later this month.

Lead sponsor of "gay marriage" bill, Rep. Greg Harris (left), concedes defeat on the House floor on Friday, May 31.

Big defeat for homosexual movement

Although the bill can still come back after the summer recess, this represents a huge loss for the homosexual movement, which will likely reverberate across the country. They were confident that their pressure tactics would work. They put enormous resources from across the country into this. Even Barack Obama got involved. They announced more than once over the last few weeks that their votes were there. But it didn't go their way.

The bill had already passed the Senate. It only needed to get through the House. The House Speaker said that the bill would not come for a vote until they had the 60 votes needed to pass it. The battle was largely for the votes of the 20-member black caucus. It was a battle they clearly didn't win. (See article by Sandy Rios in

Thus, the "gay marriage" bill's sponsor, Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) announced on Friday afternoon that they didn't have the votes. He said that members told him they "needed more time to talk to their districts" about it.

A real uphill battle!

How tough was this? The odds against stopping this seemed overwhelming. Here's what the pro-family side was up against:

  • Big Democrat majority in House. The Democrats hold a huge majority of 71 members in the 120-member House. They only needed 60 of those votes to pass the "gay marriage" bill.
  • The homosexual groups spent $1 million on lobbyists. According to records uncovered by IFI, the homosexual lobby spent a million dollars on lobbyists to get this bill through. They had approximately 40 lobbyists working on House members -- compared to about 4 paid lobbyists for our side. Where was in addition to the flood of money to Illinois homosexual activist groups to pay for staff, PR, outreach (including having celebrities making pro-gay marriage robo-calls), and pressure tactics.
  • Turncoat RINO Republicans. How bad can it get? Try this: The Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party publicly supported "gay marriage" and was phoning GOP lawmakers to get them to vote for it. It caused such a stir that last month he was forced to resign over it. The Illinois GOP House Minority Leader supported "gay marriage." In April, Illinois GOP US Senator, Mark Kirk, publicly announced his support for "gay marriage."
  • Obama came to Illinois to push for "gay marriage." During the last week of lobbying, Barack Obama came to Illinois to help push "gay marriage." In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel already was pushing heavily for it. (Interestingly, we're told that political rivalries lingering from Obama's time in the Illinois General Assembly may have dulled his effectiveness a bit with the Chicago black caucus.)
  • Mainstream media relentless. The mainstream media in Illinois, particularly in Chicago, basically conducted a non-stop statewide PR campaign to get "gay marriage" passed. Just one small example is this Chicago Tribune editorial during the final week.
  • Disinformation campaign and general outrageous behavior by homosexual groups. Throughout the last month the major homosexual groups would publish news releases claiming they'd gotten the 60 votes and it would be on the House floor within a day or two. Then, on the last day of the session, at least a hundred activists stormed the State House demanding that the House members pass it. And as usual, they've been vicious toward anyone who opposed them.

"Gay Liberation Network" activists attempt to intimidate lawmakers in House chamber during May 31 session.
[Photo: Americans for Truth]

How did the pro-family forces beat all this?

The pro-family forces beat this with a pro-family force that's never been seen before in Illinois. It was an outstanding statewide coalition that brought together pro-family groups, churches, individual effort, leadership, and enough funding to get by. The main forces were:

  • The Illinois Family Institute (IFI), led by Dave Smith along with Kathy Valente and Laurie Higgins, did the brunt of the organizing work and went across the state putting together the network of activists, churches, and other groups, and helped set up rallies, pastors' breakfasts, lobbying days, and other events.
  • The African American Pastors Association, particularly Rev. James Meeks and Bishop Lance Davis, worked in Chicago, Peoria, and other urban areas holding the black caucus members' feet to the fire on this issue, despite pressure from the homosexual lobby. In particular, powerful robo-calls from Rev. Meeks into the black areas helped keep the pressure up. Over 600,000 of these robo-calls were funded by Family PAC Illinois. The National Organization for Marriage(NOM) also funded these robo-calls.
  • The Illinois Catholic Conference along with Cardinal Francis George of the Archdiocese of Chicago and Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield did incredible work energizing the Catholic churches, and in particular pressuring Catholic members of the House, including several Hispanic members, and keeping them from caving in on this issue.
  • Other Protestant churches in Chicago and across Illinois, and key individuals in those churches, were very effective in reaching legislators on this issue.

The homosexual movement simply couldn't come up with this kind of state-wide activist support. And everything held together. In the tally on Friday they had kept enough of the black caucus and enough Catholic legislators on board, and managed to lose only two House Republicans.

IFI's Dave Smith (at podium) shows photo from MassResistance website -- warning what "gay marriage" can bring.

It's not over. The work starts again after the recess.

Stopping this bill by the May 31 recess was a big, big victory. Trust us, this has left the homosexual movement angry, confused, and somewhat demoralized. But it's not over.

The General Assembly re-convenes for a six-day "veto session" in the fall (October 22-24 and November 5-7). Then it goes back in session in January 2014 for five months, followed by another short "veto session" at the end of 2014. During any of these times, the bill could be brought back up.

Keeping the momentum going

For now, the momentum is clearly with the pro-family side. But there's no question that the pressure needs to be kept up on this. The coalition's work needs to continue -- and even expand.

The homosexual lobby will be bringing in boatloads of money for more intense lobbying. And over the summer they will likely be doing what they did in other states -- go into key districts to recruit and organize constituents to pressure their state reps for "marriage equality."

But we can counter that. Our side already has a considerable presence in the districts. Dave Smith of IFI told us that the coalition is willing to do whatever it takes, as long as the funding holds out. The coalition has certainly shown that it's capable of getting the job done so far.

We think this should be a top priority in the pro-family movement nationally.

VIDEO: IFI's of huge State House Lobby Day.
On February 20, thousands of pro-family citizens
came to Springfield and filled the State House

What does this victory tell us?

There are many things that we should learn (or more precisely, re-learn) from this victory. Here are the top two, in our opinion:

A. The "gay" movement is not invincible and can be beaten even in a very blue state.

After the recent passage of "gay marriage" laws in Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota, many pro-family people seem to have given up emotionally.

They forget that 31 states ban "gay marriage" -- as the result of 31 successful elections. And that the homosexual lobby only wins when it can overwhelm the opposition with enormous money, organization, and political power -- or even bribery.

The truth is that the future is in our hands, not theirs.

Right after the Illinois victory, IFI president Dave Smith posted this reaction on his Facebook page:


Media types and RINO GOP leaders . . . were rebuked by yesterday's action in the Illinois House! Social conservatives in Illinois are NOT outside the political mainstream with our support of traditional marriage. Democrats hold a super majority in the Illinois House -- 71 potential votes -- but could NOT muster 60 even with the help of 2 weak-kneed Republicans to pass same-sex "marriage" legislation.

The homosexual agenda is NOT inevitable, and marriage redefinition is not as popular as the cheerleaders in the media want you to believe -- a point underscored yesterday by moderate Democrats, not right-wing conservatives.

Illinois was one state that we thought would go down pretty fast. Back in December and January when the "gay marriage" bill started to gather some steam and Chicago pro-family activists Paul Caprio and Sandy Rios began to pull together groups to start fighting it (which eventually became the coalition), we were pretty worried. It just looked too overwhelming.

What we've learned is that even with all their money, political power, and complete media dominance, the homosexual movement is not unstoppable. Yes, there is an illusion of unbeatability. But there will always be more of us than there are of them. They can be beaten anywhere that there is effective pro-family leadership, organization, moxie, and financial support.

Homosexual activists attempt to terrorize Catholic church in Chicago
during Sunday morning Mass. [Photo: Americans for Truth.]

B. The conservative movement had better step up to the plate with funding.

As Dave Smith told us, it was by the grace of God that they pulled this off. Although the statewide pro-family coalition fell into place wonderfully, they just barely had enough money to keep it going, fighting against the huge war-chest of the homosexual lobby.

The radicals have several national groups funneling millions of dollars into the "gay marriage" battles in states around the country. And even more comes directly from wealthy individuals like Bloomberg, Singer, Gill, and their cohorts.

On our side, there's basically only the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) which purports to help bankroll state "gay marriage" fights. In this case, NOM spent $125,000 for robo-calls by the African American Pastors Assn. That's about half of what IFI put in, which came from their yearly operating budget. As a result, IFI needs to do some fast fundraising just to keep their operations going. Needless to say, that scenario is not sustainable. Our side needs an influx of cash.

Let's be honest. The truth is there are hundreds of major conservative donors, many of them extremely wealthy, who are afraid of the homosexual movement and are backing away. Those on the front lines find this deplorabe and cowardly. We don't know how to change that, but something needs to happen pretty quickly.

When all was said and done, Delaware and Rhode Island were very close votes. We are convinced that if they had sufficient funding and organizational capability we would have won. In particular, Nicole Theis, leader of the Delaware Family Policy Council, was an incredible leader. The RI people worked tirelessly also. But the pro-family movements were operating on a shoestring while the rest of the conservative movement basically stood by and watched. Minnesota was a bit more complicated, but the pieces were in place and we're convinced that it could have been won with the right resources.

It's a sad commentary that good ordinary folks across America are willing to sacrifice to confront the homosexual movement, but people who have the resources to make it happen have gone AWOL.