Following in a recent line of states to legalize same-sex marriage, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced last Tuesday that he intends to sign a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in his state after it was passed by local legislature the same day.
Illinois is set to become the 15th state to allow gay marriage, following Quinn’s expected signing of the bill on Nov. 20. Hawaii’s senate passed a bill Tuesday also legalizing gay marriage, making them the 16th state to do so.
Jody Cofer Randall, LGBT program coordinator, said despite the momentum states have recently been showing in their efforts to promote fair relationship recognition, Kentucky is not likely to become the 17th state to follow suit or even at all.
Cofer Randall said while Kentucky citizens have shown wide support for work place discrimination and bullying protections concerning gay rights, marriage is the one topic state legislators seem unwilling to compromise on.
Despite this fact, he said time is on the side of the supporters of same-sex marriage and inevitably same-sex marriage will be universally recognized by all states. Once either half of the states have passed same-sex marriage legislation or once more than 50 percent of the nation’s populace supports the idea, he said, then the federal government will begin working on establishing federal legislation.
“That day is coming,” Cofer Randall said. “Look at the states. One by one we’re ticking them off. We’re heading there and we’re heading there fairly quickly.”
And while Kentucky appears to be adamant on this subject, he said, Illinois’ recently passed legislation is important and does affect both Kentucky and Murray State.
“I think it is significant any time one of the states takes that step forward,” he said. “It makes the conversation (about same-sex marriage) a bit easier and a bit different in a state like Kentucky.”
He said since Illinois is in Murray State’s backyard, it is important for the University to be aware of the state’s public policy and how it will affect students and employees.
He said Kentucky has made a number of important steps in the direction of equality, but in terms of same-sex marriage, advocates are just going to have to wait.
Said Cofer Randall: “We may say and do things that are shining examples of fairness and equality at certain levels, but marriage unfortunately is not going to be one of them.”
Ben Manhanke, Assistant News Editor