Illinois Pan-pest Andy "Smashing knockers" Thayer. If it's goofy, Andy is out in front.
Only hours after failing to sweep-up enough votes to Redefine Marriage and Make 'Em Pay's (SB # 10), sponsor and architect of both Civil Unions and the failed Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act is being treated with all of the civility and graciousness visited upon Francis Cardinal George by the LGBTQ leadership and men of Boystown.
In more than a dozen speeches Saturday night, activists who fought for months to pass the bill, blamed Democratic politicians for the loss.Scores of gay activists - some say 50, but Windy City Times says over 100 - vented in Boystown against Rep. Greg Harris.
"We were working under circumstances where there was a lack of communication from the House," said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda, who described himself as "incredibly pissed."
Taking much of the heat were House Speaker Michael Madigan and Harris.
"The truth is there is no one to blame except for the person who didn't call a vote," said Lambda Legal's Jim Bennett, chair of the Illinois Unites for Marriage Coalition, of Harris.
Bennett said that accusations that lack of support in the House Black Caucus doomed the bill were unfair.
He further commented on a Windy City Times editorial by Publisher Tracy Baim, which called on Harris to step down as the bill's sponsor and not run for re-election if the bill fails in the November's veto session.
"It's a conversation we should all have," said Bennett, who called the lack of a vote a "profound betrayal." But Bennett said that calls for resignation might be premature, noting Harris's history within the community.
Bennett's comments came alongside a media release from Equality Illinois the same night, stating that the call for Harris to resign was wrong. [The editorial does not call for Harris to resign.] The release condemned his decision not to vote on the bill.
"But Representative Harris has been our stalwart leader in the General Assembly, masterfully leading the way for civil unions, funding for AIDS/HIV services, and other important initiatives impacting seniors, women and children," Equality Illinois said in the statement. "Probably no one in that body ached more than he did in announcing his decision."
Equality Illinois leaders did not attend Saturday night's rally.
Several speakers urged action from grassroots community members, noting that LGBTs had placed undue trust in leadership on the bill.
But despite outrage from many speakers, a solemn and disappointed mood marked the rainy evening protest. LGBT couples stood arm-in-arm together, some of them crying. Others quietly held up homemade signs.
Fred Eychaner paid to get Greg Harris' looney bill passed and signed by Gov. Pat " Yes, Sire!" Quinn. Catholics, evangelicals and African Americans strongly voiced opposition to the legislation that is using Civil Rights as its smoke screen, in order to exercise power over the people of Illinois and the religious faiths and institutions that object to re-defining marriage. The politics of this demands that there be no such opposition - in thought word or deed - like voting.
Fred Eychaner's Windy City Times trotted out Tracy Baim's Stalinist denunciation of the leading gay activist in Springfield.
The biggest blame has to be placed on the chief sponsor of the marriage equality bill in the Illinois House, Rep. Greg Harris, an openly gay man. If you are out front for the credit when there is victory, you are also out front for the failure. The bill stops there.Not Greg, Not Mr. Harris," not thanks . . .just try and get a reservation at Kit Kat, Harris. "
Harris made promises he could not keep. In politics, that can be a reason to step down. Harris, who has dedicated his career to LGBT and AIDS issues, deserves the chance to prove his strategy right. If he wins, we all win, and that is all that matters. But if he does not succeed in passing this in the veto session this fall, he should not run for re-election in 2014. To be clear, this is not a call for Harris to resign, but he will have lost the trust of the people he made commitments to, and it is very difficult to lead once that trust is gone.
In addition, Harris should step down now as chief sponsor of this legislation. He has proven he is tone deaf to the wishes of both the grassroots and leadership of this community. They almost all called for a vote "no matter what." Instead, Harris chose to give cover to his political colleagues, rather than follow through on his own on-the-record promise to call for a vote by May 31.
Why did a vote matter now? Because for months, no hard count has been possible on who really was for or against this bill. This limbo caused confusion and depleted valuable resources lobbying dozens more representatives than necessary.
Harris said he has promises from certain reps they will vote for the bill this fall, but we have seen how political promises pan out.
What's not clear is if it would have failed if the legislators had been forced to be on record. Several legislators said they believe some of their colleagues would have changed to "yes"—and indeed in other cities and states this has been the case. With four openly gay and lesbian representatives in the Illinois House as their colleagues, they have a much greater understanding of this battle. ( emphases my own, HARRIS!)
Anger, Hostility and Vindictiveness have been the theme and overall tone of the push for Gay Marriage - the issue, according to Gay Commissars, is not subject to debate. What's next ?
More anger, hostility and vindictiveness. Fred Eychaner will get more money from fro Henry Van Ameringen and other members of the American Gay Mafia. There will be more Gay sit com idols trotted out wearing Paul Simon ties and Pat Quinn will talk about his bruised fists punching out homophobic cops at Stonewall.
Gay Pride Parade will be one angry, hostile and vindictive stroll. Harris had best blow town.