Chicago’s mayoral candidates were split on civil unions for gay couples Wednesday after Illinois lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the landmark legislation.
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago’s mayoral candidates were split on civil unions for gay couples Wednesday after Illinois lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the landmark legislation. Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis and City Clerk Miguel del Valle praised the action by lawmakers. "I think it’s a wonderful day in the state of Illinois," del Valle said after a taking part in a debate at the University of Illinois at Chicago with 10 of the 20 candidates running for mayor. Emanuel said in a statement that the legislation puts Illinois on the "right side of history." He said it was a matter of "basic fairness" to promote equality for gay and lesbian Illinois residents. Another candidate, former Chicago City Colleges Chairman Gery Chico, said Illinois has made history by taking the first step toward providing basic civil rights for all people. "Extending human rights and responsibilities to committed same-sex couples is not only a matter of justice and human decency, it is good public policy," Chico said in a statement. "However, while tonight is a step in the right direction, our work is not done. We must not rest until Illinois provides full marriage equality to all people." The state Senate approved the measure after a narrow House vote Tuesday advanced it. Gov. Pat Quinn has promised to sign the legislation that would give gay couples many of the same rights as heterosexual married ones. Only one mayoral hopeful, state Sen. James Meeks, had the chance to vote on the civil unions legislation, and opposed it. Meeks, the pastor of a South Side megachurch, says he believes in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.