Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Hynes, 41, is currently serving his third term as state comptroller. Hynes talked with Windy City Times about marriage equality and one of the few things he applauds incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn for doing.
Windy City Times: I spoke with Pat Quinn, and he said that he supports civil unions for same-sex couples. He wouldn't directly address the issue of marriage but talking about the civil-unions bill sponsored by Greg Harris, he said, "That's the bill that can pass today and that's the one we should focus on." What do you think of this?
Dan Hynes: I think that when you're talking about human rights and something that's as fundamental as recognizing two committed loving adults being able to have their relationship recognized by law for what it is, I don't think we should think in terms of what is achievable and likely to pass. You have to say what you believe. You either believe that two committed adults should be able to marry respective of their sexual orientation or you don't. I don't like the idea of people basing their position based on what's achievable in the legislature. It's a fundamental human rights issue. I am looking forward to being an emotional and powerful voice for marriage equality. I won't rest until we are able to achieve that.
WCT: On your Web site, it says that you believe "that if two committed adults want to express their love and their commitment to each other through marriage, they should be allowed to do so under civil law." Why do you think marriage is significant as opposed to civil unions? What led you to this belief?
Dan Hynes: I think it's almost as fundamental as how we learned separate but equal wasn't truly equal. We're recognizing that the relationship between two committed adults, that their love for each other, deserves not just all the benefits of the law but especially the basic recognition under law. It's a form of discrimination to say we'll give you certain rights but we won't really recognize your marital rights under law. That can't be tolerated.
WCT: Also on your site it says that you extended healthcare benefits to domestic partners of your employees. Why was that important to you?
Dan Hynes: I think that sometimes it is difficult to convince every legislator or every elected official that health benefits or other benefits should be afforded to gays and lesbians. When you can take administrative or executive action you can begin to afford those rights to those individuals. It's symbolically important that you're willing to take those steps and that governmentif you're going to make these changes, an important place to start is in government. If there's anywhere we shouldn't discriminate it's in government. There was the benefit of including more people under these healthcare benefits and the symbolic impact of taking executive action.
WCT: Gov. Quinn has made funding the state's HIV/AIDS programs a priority this year. What do you make of his decision to fund these programs when there are so many other things vying for attention and money?
Dan Hynes: You know there aren't a lot of areas where I would applaud him but here I would give him credit. I think it's important that we maintain our commitment to funding HIV and AIDS programs in terms of prevention, education, awareness, treatment and across the board. I think that going forward we have to have a plan to address the budget crisis that we're in so that were not just holding steady but so that were increasing funding for these areas. My budget plan is the most comprehensive plan for dealing with these issues and which could eventually increase funding for HIV and AIDS education.
See www.danhynes.com .