On November 8th, my state Senator Kirk Dillard announced his second bid for Illinois Governor in 2014. Dillard lost a the GOP Primary in a squeaker to hard right conservative Bill Brady in 2010. This allowed impeached Rod Blagojevich replacement Governor Pat Quinn to squeak by a general election Dillard was almost sure to win.
Dillard has a sterling resume: chief of staff to former GOP Governor Jim Edgar, legislative director to former GOP Governor Jim Thompson and long time state senator in his own right. Sadly, while Dillard is focused on a gubernatorial bid 23 months away, he has no time to respond to his constituents on an important issue affecting thousands of Illinoisans personally and all 13 million of us morally and spiritually. I refer, of course, to the great moral and civil rights issue of the 21st century: marriage equality for all, including gays. During the past month I've sent two email requests to Sen. Dillard asking his position on marriage equality in Illinois. Not getting an answer I called his legislative office. The polite lady who answered couldn't provide an insight into Sen. Dillard's soul on the issue, but did offer that "marriage is traditionally between a man and a women". When I politely replied that this is an important constituent issue that deserves a response from one seeking to govern all Illinoisans, she did say she would show my emails to him for a response. I'm still waiting.
Two days before Dillard's announcement, Maryland, Washington and Maine legalized gay marriage and Minnesota said "no" to a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. That makes gay marriage legal in 9 states and Washington DC. In one of my emails to Sen. Dillard, I suggested he view the movie "Lincoln" which deals with US legislators grappling with the great moral issue of slavery during the debate over the 13th Amendment shortly before Lincoln's assassination. The legislators' agonizing is stunning and truly reveals character as some who opposed slavery couldn't bring themselves to vote its prohibition out of fear and cowardice while others voted yes regardless of political and personal consequences.
Sen. Dillard doesn't need to see "Lincoln" to make the right call on marriage equality, but if it would help, he should. Illinois consists of much more than an aging but still sizable segment of folks ruled by fear and ignorance and plain old hate on this issue. Dillard needs to realize that it's not always wise to run for office strictly on the straight and narrow.
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