CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayoral candidate Gery Chico is joining gay rights activists in contacting state lawmakers and urging them to pass a bill for civil unions.
Chico planned to spend part of Monday contacting lawmakers about the bill. It would grant new spousal rights to same-sex partners in a civil union, putting them on par legally with heterosexual married couples when it comes to surrogate decision-making for medical treatment, survivorship, adoptions and accident and health insurance, for example.
But the legislation does not recognize same-sex marriages.
At a weekend meeting with GLBT community leaders at Ann Sather’s, 909 W. Belmont Ave., Chico said he had always been taught that everyone is equal. He said giving equal rights same-sex couples is “a matter of justice and human decency” and “good public policy,” ChicagoPride.com reported.
At the meeting, Chico also spoke in favor of equal rights for transgender workers, a new anti-bullying program in the Chicago Public Schools, and a plan to work with city contractors for same-sex partner benefits, ChicagoPride.com reported.
Mayoral candidates Rahm Emanuel and Carol Moseley Braun have also gone on record in favor of civil unions.
State Sen. Rev. James Meeks (D-Chicago), who has expressed religious opposition to homosexuality, told CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine, “If civil unions is the law of the land the day that I am mayor of the city of Chicago, I will not oppose it.” But as to how he would vote in Springfield, Meeks said, “That’s a question when you interview me as a legislator.”
But the bill also faces stiff opposition from some groups, including the Francis Cardinal George and the Catholic Conference of Illinois. Francis Cardinal George said in a news release last week that “everybody has a right to marry, but no one has the right to change the nature of marriage.”