State Senator Kyle McCarter ( R-Lebanon ), on Jan. 11, filed legislation prohibiting state and local governments from retaliatory action against an individual or individuals if they act under the belief that a marriage is an institution reserved for unions between a man and a woman.
The bill, SB0064, was referred to the Senate's assignments committee and is one of several attempts by McCarter to legislate against marriage equality. He filed similar bills in January 2014, a few months after same-sex marriage was legalized in Illinois, and July 2015, shortly after the Supreme Court declared it to be the law of the land. Neither attempt gained much traction.
"He seems to do it every session," said Rick Garcia, senior partner with the lobbying firm Foremost Strategy, who was present when McCarter introduced the bill. Jan. 11 was the first day the Senate was in session for the calendar year.
SB0064 also says that individuals would be protected from government action if their alleged discrimination is rooted in the belief that "sexual relations are properly reserved" to a marriage between a man and a woman, and the legislation empowers those individuals to sue the government when they are accused of such discrimination. The proposed law ties into a number of court cases across the country where vendors want to be legally indemnified for refusing to serve customers for reasons tied to gay marriage. Illinois, for its part, is fairly explicit in protecting LGBT persons in public-accommodations laws.
"This kind of stuff has purchase at this moment, given what's going on in the states around us," said Garcia. "But in Illinois we have firewalls all the way to make sure we are protected from laws like this. That doesn't mean we can sit back and relax when this happens though."
The legislation can be viewed at bit.ly/2j888Qk .