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OP-ED: Society leads on gay-rights issues while 'leaders' dawdle

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The Chicago Daily Herald
|
January 8, 2013

Watching the movie "Lincoln," you see how President Abraham Lincoln took it upon himself to lead a wary nation and drag hesitant and timid lame-duck legislators into passing the monumental civil rights legislation that outlawed slavery. That leadership is nowhere to be found when it comes to civil rights for gay Americans. President Barack Obama, a former Illinois legislator who launched his presidential campaign in Springfield as Lincoln did, supports gay marriage rights. Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel do, too. Yet Illinois is expected to end another legislative session today without passing a gay marriage bill. What are our legislators waiting for? With most civil-rights issues — slavery, voting rights for blacks and women, the end of segregation and the legalization of interracial marriage — the majority of people weren't ready for the change. Our leaders in the executive branch, our legislature and the courts had to bring about the change and wait for the people finally to come around and accept it.