Votes for marriage equality a must

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Brexton Isaacs

 

With Election Day on November 4, it’s time for Illinois Wesleyan University students to start making decisions on who they’ll be voting for. An issue that is critical to many students is marriage equality. Even in 2014, when it seems like support for equality should be a given, we still have elected officials and candidates for office who don’t support equality for all.

There are many issues at stake in this election, but voters should strongly question the judgment of any candidate who doesn’t support equality for all Americans.

Bruce Rauner, the Republican nominee for Governor, has said that if he were Governor he would have vetoed marriage equality. Plain and simple, gay couples in Illinois would still be treated as second-class citizens had Rauner been Governor when the bill passed.

This year while campaigning, Rauner told a roomful of potential campaign donors, “Frankly, I think the idea of two men marrying is just weird.” This statement may seem incredibly out of touch to most, but Rauner has refused to walk back the comments.

Contrast Rauner’s position with that of Governor Pat Quinn who signed marriage equality into law and has fought for protections in the workplace. Quinn has been endorsed by Equality Illinois and other major equality groups. There have been few stronger allies to the LGBT community in Illinois than Governor Quinn.

Our current Congressman, Rodney Davis, is another politician who is out of line with many Americans on this critical issue. Davis goes a step farther than Rauner and actually supports a constitutional ban on gay marriage. I repeat—a constitutional ban.

Davis has been a consistent opponent of LGBT rights and has refused to support the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA would protect LGBT Americans from being fired simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Yes— Americans in many states can still be fired for who they love. And Rodney Davis doesn’t think we should stop it.

Davis’ opponent, former Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis, has a clear position on these issues. Her website lays it out, clear and simple; “she supports measures that promote equality—like banning discrimination in employment and housing laws, honoring spousal and marital benefits for our military members and advocating for anti-bullying policies for our schools.”

Callis’ position is common-sense and would represent the opinion held by a majority of Illinois Wesleyan students.

On November 4, IWU students will vote in a very important election and I hope they join me in supporting the only pro-equality candidates for Governor and for Congress on the ballot: Pat Quinn and Ann Callis.