State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) filed a bill Jan. 21 that would repeal SB10, the Illinois religious Freedom Protection and Marriage Fairness Act and define legal marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Marriage equality advocates, however, say that the bill, SB2637, is a play to his conservative base in his home district.
"I think we're all going to be happy when gay and lesbian couples can legally marry," said Ed Yohnka of ACLU Illinois. "This proposal won't do anything to stop that."
Anthony Martinez, executive director for The Civil Rights Agenda, said that
"This is an exercise in frivolity as far as I'm concerned," added Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda in a statement. "I think most people understand that in the current General Assembly this bill will not prevail."
But Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, said that no matter how ineffective McCarter's bill ultimately is, it underscores that marriage equality opponents are "not giving up and they're not closing shop."
He added that extremists in both houses will either look to overturning SB10 or "chipping away at it, bit by bit, looking for smaller ways to undermine it. It was a pattern we saw after civil unions."
In 2011, McCarter filed a bill that would have amended the state's civil unions bill to Catholic Charities and other faith-based organizations the right to refuse services to same-sex couples. In 2013, when SB10 was being debated in the state senate, he lamented that the legislation would result in businesses such as florists and bed and breakfasts not wanting to serve gay couples ultimately having to close.
McCarter was travelling and could not be reached for comment, according to his staff.