For the first time ever, the Illinois Senate approved a controversial measure Monday that would ban discrimination against gays and lesbians in matters of housing and employment, clearing a long-standing hurdle to passage and inspiring one key sponsor to proclaim a victory for "fundamental freedom."Please use the links above to send Emil and Blagorgeous attaboys -- And, more importantly, to pressure your state Rep. to support this historic human rights bill.
With only two days left in the term of the outgoing General Assembly, the Senate sent the House the proposal under pressure from Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago), Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the governor's sister-in-law, gay activist Deborah Mell.
Senators passed the bill 30-27, with one member voting present.
The measure now heads to the House, where sponsors vowed to pass it. The lower chamber pushed the same measure through committee Monday and now has it queued up for a floor vote on Tuesday.
If sent to Blagojevich and signed into law, the measure will add "sexual orientation" to the list of reasons for which people cannot discriminate in housing, lending and employment. The measure specifically states that the law would not require any employer, lender, real estate agent or landlord to give preferential treatment or special rights to people based on their sexual orientation.
And feel free to send attaboys to the three -- Three! -- Republicans that stood up for the basic rights of employment and housing: Sens. Pam Althoff of McHenry, Christine Radogno of Lemont and Dan Rutherford of Chenoa. You can be certain that they will be hearing plenty from Leader readers and other wing-nuts, so I am sure they will appreciate a note thanking them for doing the right thing.
MORE: And since we are on the subject of Republicans, human rights and a vote in the Illinois House, I hope that the folks over at the Jeff Tweedy Fanclub will take the time to post in support of this bill today.