Finding Middle Ground: The Debate Over Same-Sex Marriage Laws
In November 2013, the Illinois House of Representatives approved same-sex marriage legislation by a narrow vote of 61 to 54 with the Illinois Senate following suit with a vote of 32 to 51. As Governor Pat Quinn placed pen to paper, Illinois became the 16th state to recognize same sex marriage effective June 1, 2014.
For the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, this has been a welcomed victory, but one Illinois business owner will not join in the celebration.
According to a recent article by the Huffington Post, Jim Walder, owner of the TimberCreek Bed and Breakfast located near Paxton, Illinois strongly stated he will not be advertising destination wedding packages to the members of the LGBT community.
Walder who identifies himself as a Christian has not been shy when speaking out against same-sex marriage. In 2011, Todd and Mark Wathen filed a civil complaint against Walder and TimberCreek after Walden refused to host a civil union ceremony at the bed and breakfast. The outcome of the civil case is still pending.
The news of Walder's refusal to book same-sex marriage ceremonies came just days after the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa (Gresham, Oregon) were found to have violated the rights of a lesbian couple by refusing to prepare a wedding cake for their upcoming ceremony. The bakery has recently closed shop.
More recently, as reported by the Associated Press, Phoenix, attorneys for the state of Arizona denied that their state ban on same sex marriage violated equal-protection and due process rights. Seven same-sex couples disagreed and have filed a lawsuit claiming that the ban denies them the benefits associated with traditional marriage, including spousal benefits, spousal survivorship rights and the ability to make medical decisions in time of crisis. The ban has since been lifted but without the legalization of same-sex marriage.
No doubt the debate will continue as society redefines marriage, domestic partnerships, civil unions and same-sex marriage. Hopefully some time in the future we will all find a firm foothold on middle ground.If you have questions about how you and your life partner are protected, the Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates can assist you with determining your rights under Illinois law. Attorney Warlick is revered for taking a personal approach to any of your family law questions and is just a phone call away. Contact us our offices at 630-232-9700 to schedule your consultation today.