Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



Cook County Board Passes DP Registry

This article shared 1933 times since Wed Jul 9, 2003
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

The vote was almost anti-climactic. It came after weeks of progress on GLBT rights, and the proposal itself was sponsored by the board president. There were enough co-sponsors to assure passage, and it has easily passed out of main sponsor Mike Quigley's committee.

So it was no real surprise when the Cook County Board July 1 passed a law providing for a domestic-partnership registry for same-sex partners in this sprawling Illinois county, which includes Chicago.

Mount Prospect Republican Commissioner Carl Hansen was the most outspoken against the measure. He was joined by two other Republicans in voting against the bill, which passed 13-3 with 1 'present' vote.

Peter Silvestri was the only Republican who backed the law, perhaps because his near-west suburban district includes a portion of Oak Park—the most progressive community in Illinois, with the state's first partners' registry and the state's first openly lesbian mayor, Joanne Trapani, who was at the County Board for the vote.

While a partners registry holds little legal weight, those against the trend fear it will lead to full legal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Some supporters don't see anything wrong with gays and lesbians having access to the more than 1,000 federal benefits tied to heterosexual marriage.

The 'affidavit of domestic partnership,' which will be issued by Cook County Clerk David Orr's office starting around Oct. 1 of this year, will have some impact for partners, especially when applying for healthcare coverage from their employers—at least from those who offer domestic-partner benefits. This is one more document that confirms they have a relationship and a financial vested interest in each other's lives.

The certificate can also help when confirming a relationship in child custody cases, hospital visitation, and other day-to-day incidents where same-sex couples have trouble being treated on par with straights.

Commissioner Quigley also noted that relief funds for Sept. 11 victims used partner registries to determine survivor benefits.

Quigley, from Chicago's North Side 10th District, received help from numerous gay and lesbian political strategists and activists, many who attended the historic July 1 vote in favor of the registry. Among them were Brandon Neese, Deputy Cook County Clerk under David Orr, who is in the process of creating the forms needed within 90 days to comply with the new law. Cook County itself offers same-sex domestic-partners benefits to its own employees. Commissioner Quigley, in introducing the measure, noted that about 200 of the Fortune 500 companies offer DP benefits.

Speaking Out

'In many respects ... this is mainstream, this is old news. The rest of the world is doing it,' Quigley said. 'Relationships aren't what people conceived them to be in 1955 when they watched TV and Leave It To Beaver. We are a diverse country and a diverse world. ... I look out in this audience and see people that we work with—Kelly Cassidy [who works for Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine], Brandon Neese—and many others who have long-term, committed relationships, and they're beautiful.

'It's interesting to see how the editorial mood has changed,' Quigley continued. '[This measure] promotes monogamous, committed, long-term relationships. When people say this has no value ... they forget how much ceremonies matter in everyone's life. ... Those ceremonies mark something very special in people's lives. ... It's clearly not government's role to decide and proclaim who should love each other and how their relationship should go.'

After Quigley introduced the measure, Board President John Stroger tried to stifle debate, but Commissioner Hansen insisted on discussing the motion.

'I'm going to make a statement as I am entitled to,' Hansen said to Stroger. 'I was not a member of the committee. ... And then I am going to ask for a roll-call vote.'

Stroger said people are not going to back away from their vote just because it would be roll call—where their names would be listed on either side of the debate.

'Gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose,' Hansen read from his statement. 'They don't have a right to redefine marriage for our entire society. This measure is contrary to the legally accepted concept of marriage as a union of one man and one woman. This proposal goes beyond the notion of tolerance and into the arena of acceptance. This calls upon the county to endorse this activity, when such endorsement is beneath the intention of government. This proposal is so loosely written as to allow as many as six registrations in one year. Such a trivialization is unworthy of serious consideration or comparison to marriage within the law of Illinois. Many commissioners endorsing this proposal do not themselves believe in it, nor are they reflecting the sentiments of the vast majority of their constituents.'

In voting against the measure, suburban Republican Commissioner Elizabeth Gorman said her office received an overwhelming number of calls against it.

'We are sent here by our voters to vote their will. I have received over 100 calls, e-mails, messages ... the overwhelming sentiment was that this was not a good idea,' said Anthony Peraica. 'As representatives of the people from our districts we have an obligation to consider their wishes ... . I believe we're obligated ... to vote their will, therefore my vote is no.'

Quigley said if he ever lost an election because he voted his conscience rather than what voters wanted, 'that is as good of a reason for losing an election as you can have.'

Republican commissioner Gregg Goslin of Glenview voted present.

Among those speaking in favor of the bill was John Daley, who, along with Stroger and Quigley, were the main sponsors.

Co-sponsors who spoke up included Roberto Maldonado, Joan Murphy, Bobbie Steele, and Larry Suffredin. Other co-sponsors were Forrest Claypool, Earlean Collins, Joseph Mario Moreno, and Deborah Sims. Jerry Butler voted in favor but was not a co- sponsor.

'If the gay and lesbian community feels that this is just one little step in reducing discrimination against that community, I support this ordinance,' Maldonado said.

'I too have been inundated with calls,' Joan Murphy said. 'I returned some calls this morning ... I told them all the same thing: I do not believe it is government's place to legislate morality, to invade another person's privacy. ... My part is to help people who need help, and I believe the gay and lesbian community needs help in order to get benefits that would be their's under any other circumstances.'

'My upbringing ... has never taught me to judge people. ... This measure does not create marriage, and it does not even incur any taxpayer cost. ... Because my family and my religious faith and my political philosophy has always taught me to respect people, I vote yes,' said Pete Silvestri.

'The Supreme Court said it well last week when they indicated that the state has no business in a person's personal life,' Commissioner Bobbie Steele said. 'We're not creating ... marriage. Just a symbolic indication that all people are created [equal] and they should be able to do whatever it is they choose to do. ... I'm still struggling with discrimination. I'm a woman, and I'm a Black woman. I feel it all the time ... I know how it feels to be discriminated against. For that reason I cast my vote for this ordinance, in hopes that whatever barriers these people are experiencing, this will help ease some of the pressure.'

'This is an ordinance that makes me feel very proud to be able to vote for,' Suffredin said. Also at the County Board meeting, longtime public health advocate Ruth Rothstein, 80, was honored upon her retirement. The CORE Center which she helped create as a premiere national HIV/AIDS center will be renamed in her honor. Almost every commissioner spoke strongly in support of the re-naming.

This article shared 1933 times since Wed Jul 9, 2003
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Kentucky lawmakers pass anti-trans youth bill; governor plans to veto measure
In Kentucky, Republican lawmakers passed a bill that bans minors from receiving gender-affirming care, lets educators refuse to refer to trans students by their preferred pronouns and would not allow schools to discuss sexual orientation or ...

Gay News

WORLD German bishops, trans woman's death, Hungary, human-rights event
Germany's Catholic bishops voted (38 to nine, with 11 abstentions) to adopt formal ceremonies for the blessing of same-sex relationships, defying the Vatican and testing church unity on what has become one of the most contentious ...

Gay News

HRC settles race-based lawsuit with former president
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and its Black former president, Alphonso David, settled a lawsuit in which David had alleged racial discrimination in his firing, Reuters reported. In September 2021, David was fired after New York state ...

Gay News

Arkansas governor signs anti-trans medical malpractice bill
Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed into law a measure that makes it easier to sue providers of gender-affirming care for children, ABC News reported. This move, involving a law that will take effect this ...

Gay News

WORLD Zero Discrimination Day, African countries, facility damaged, travel items
On Zero Discrimination Day this year (March 1), under the theme "Save lives: Decriminalize," UNAIDS showed how the decriminalization of key populations and people living with HIV saves lives and helps advance the end of the ...

Gay News

Minn. governor signs order protecting gender-affirming healthcare
At a time when so many political officials seem to be backing anti-LGBTQ+ measures, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is doing just the opposite. On March 8, Walz signed an executive order protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ ...

Gay News

Non-binary Okla. state rep censured after incident; LGBTQ+ groups respond
On March 7, the Oklahoma House voted to censure (or publicly express strong disapproval of) Democratic non-binary state Rep. Mauree Turner for allegedly harboring a fugitive following a recent confrontation ...

Gay News

WORLD Kenyan group, Alan Emtage, trans anchor, Hershey campaign
The Kenyan Supreme Court allowed an LGBTQI+-rights group to register as a non-governmental organization, The Washington Blade reported. Ten years ago, Eric Gitari, the former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission ...

Gay News

Coalition of tradeswomen, teachers, civil rights groups applaud end of Trump-Era rule allowing discrimination
--From a press release - Washington, D.C. — On March 1, the United States Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) officially rescinded a Trump-era rule that vastly expanded the ability ...

Gay News

LGBTQ+ groups criticize Tenn. bill that bans access to medical care for trans youth
--From a press release - NASHVILLE — On March 2, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed into law HB1/SB1, a bill that prohibits transgender-related healthcare in Tennessee for people under the age of 18. The bill is set to take effect on ...

Gay News

Raoul, IDHR issue guidance on protections against bias related to pregnancy, reproductive health
--From a press release - Chicago — Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) today released a guide on the state's protections against discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and ...

Gay News

Jussie Smollett appeals hoax-related ruling
Nearly a year after being sentenced to five months in jail for disorderly conduct related to an attack he staged—although he was released on bond just days later—actor Jussie Smollett has filed his appeal. The Chicago ...

Gay News

House Ethics Committee announces investigation into George Santos
On March 2, the U.S. House Ethics Committee announced it is officially investigating embattled Rep. George Santos as the gay Republican from New York faces multiple legal issues and calls to resign for extensively lying about ...

Gay News

Tennessee to ban drag shows; governor asked about '77 drag photo
Tennessee will ban some drag performances as well as gender-affirming healthcare for trans minors after state House lawmakers sent both bills to Republican Gov. Bill Lee to sign, The Hill reported. Republican state Senate Majority Leader ...

Gay News

Gay race-car driver Zach Herrin on industry, historic partnership with Lambda Legal
NASCAR driver Zach Herrin has announced a partnership with Lambda Legal, a national organization aimed at achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV through litigation and public advocacy. ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.