As an openly gay African-American Illinoisan who continues to actively participates in public-policy advocacy, I was encouraged to read the recent article entitled "Equality Illinois PAC endorses Quinn." I'd like to congratulate Equality Illinois PAC on its organizational endorsement of the re-election efforts of the gubernatorial incumbent, Pat Quinn.
By the way, because Equality Illinois was founded in 1991 as the Illinois Federation for Human Rights, it believes in "issues important to LGBT Illinoisans and their families," as current CEO Bernard Cherkasov stated. I believe it's important to remind some and educate others about the broader diversity of definitions that exist within the LGBTQ communities concerning those issues.
Now, I am writing this letter because, after reviewing the article, I was left with the impression that "marriage equality" was the major reason Quinn received Equality Illinois PAC's support. According to the Windy City Times article, the organization stated, "Governor Quinn's leading role in achieving first civil unions and then marriages for same-sex couples, his open and inclusive administration, and his strong support for policies that protect LGBT students from bullying and LGBT workers from discrimination make Gov. Quinn the choice of Equality Illinois PAC … [which is] backing up the endorsement with an aggressive get-out-the vote effort."
Although I agree with the endorsement, I believe its political reasoning didn't go far enough. I believe that many LGBTQ persons are beyond the marriage and anti-bully legislative victories, and are deeply concerned about their gubernatorial candidate's public policy positions on health care, jobs, pension reform, affordable housing, education, attempted LGBTQ conversation therapy and criminal-justice issues and many more public policies that affect their daily lives.
I believe that LGBTQ Illinoisans need and should expect any organization that purport to secure, protect and defend the basic civil rights of LGBT Illinoisans' "issues" to publicly acknowledge the diversity of progressive public-policy positions taken by the incumbent governorespecially since the organization publicly endorses the incumbent!
That especially applies to those policies concerning health care, jobs, pension reform, affordable housing, education and criminal-justice issues. I believe that LGBTQ Illinoisans are very interested and want and need to know the public-policy positions of anyone their being asked to support!
With that being said, I support Quinn not only because he signed the marriage-equality legislation into law, but because he strengthened and also signed into law the Equal Pay Act in 2013. That law, helps thousands of women, including lesbians, who are most likely not to be paid an equal wage on their jobs even though they're doing the same work. Additionally, Quinn supports immigration rights that helps undocumented Illinoisans, also helping undocumented LGBTQ individuals.
Equally important is the $6-billion increase in classroom spending that will help residents educate their children. And the doubling of amounts given to low-income Illinoisans monetary assistance program ( MAP ) grants helps Illinoisans. In addition, the increased Medicaid proposal will help Illinoisans. What they all have in common is that they help LGBT individuals as well.
Finally, I believe it's important to be mindful of the broader diversity of definitions that exist concerning "issues important to LGBT Illinoisans and their families," especially when a pro-LGBTQ organization purports to secure, protect and defend the basic civil rights of those individuals.