Tag Archives: Springfield

Illinois governor to sign marriage bill Nov. 20

UPDATED: A long-awaited vote arrived this month in the Illinois House, with lawmakers approving a bill certain to legalize marriage for same-sex couples.

The House vote was 61-54 with two present for a measure that needed only a final OK from the Senate — which came later on Nov. 5 — and the governor’s signature is expected to be delivered at a big ceremony on Nov. 20.

The signing ceremony will take place in Chicago and make Illinois the 16th state in the nation to “embrace full marriage equality,” Quinn said in a statement. “The legislation,” he added, “will permit all couples in our state to receive the rights and protections of marriage.”

The governor invited people to the University of Illinois-Chicago Forum for a momentous occasion honoring “the many people who worked tirelessly to make marriage equality possible in Illinois.”

The Senate first approved the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act on Valentine’s Day, but the House changed the legislation, pushing back the effective date to June. That change meant the Senate needed to vote again before sending the bill to Quinn.

The House had been expected to take up the legislation in the regular session. But on the last day of that session, on May 31, sponsor Greg Harris announced that there would be no vote, as his colleagues needed more time to discuss the issue with their constituents.

Harris, who is gay and represents a northside Chicago district, said he hoped the bill would be brought to a vote during the fall veto session.

And that’s what happened on Nov. 5.

The debate began about mid-day on the third to last day of the fall veto session and after months of lobbying from Zion to Cairo. 

“To treat all our citizens equally in the eyes of the law, we must change this,” Harris said of the Illinois prohibition against same-sex couples marrying.

Openly lesbian Rep. Kelly Cassidy, in a floor speech, said the bill could not be more personal — “It goes directly to how my family is defined by this state.”

She added, “Cast your vote for equality. For the right thing. Please, vote yes and join us on the right side of history.”

Rep. Jay C. Hoffman said, “I’ve listened to both sides, looked at the research and read the constitution. It’s clear: This is a matter of fairness.”

Republican Rep. Ed Sullivan, who represents Mundelein, urged members of his party to support the bill. He spoke about the personal impact of the legislation — about the impact his mother-in-law, who is a lesbian, has had on his life.

Rep. Linda Chapa-Lavia, who was publicly undecided on the bill until Nov. 5, spoke on the floor, saying the measure would strengthen rather than intrude on religious freedoms.

Rep. Chris Welch, speaking in favor of the bill, said, “I love my wife. She loves me. We get that right. Why shouldn’t two people of the same sex?”

He added, addressing his colleagues, “Speak up for love! Speak up for fairness! Speak up for equality and vote for SB10!”

And Chicago Democrat Sara Feigenholtz, long a leader on gay civil rights in the state and one of the most popular politicians with Chicago’s LGBT residents, urged colleagues to join her in voting for the bill: “Say yes for dignity. Yes for respect. Yes for families all across Illinois.”

Opposing the measure, Republican Rep. Tom Morrison said same-sex marriage is unnatural and that “real marriage” between a man and a woman is “the building block of human civilization.”

Other opponents argued against the equality bill because, they said, it didn’t guarantee business owners the right to refuse to serve or sell products to same-sex couples.

Similar arguments were made against the equality bills that passed earlier this year in Minnesota, Rhode Island and Delaware.

‘Principled impatience’ triumphs

After the lengthy debate, at about 4 p.m., Harris returned to the microphone to close the arguments and bring the bill to a vote. “At the end of the day, this bill is about love. It’s about family. It’s about commitment,” he said, with emotion in his voice.

At 4:01 p.m., Harris quietly said, “Ladies and gentlemen, please vote ‘yes.’”

Sixty-one did vote “yes.” Fifty-four voted “no.” Two voted present.

To pass, the measure needed 60 votes. Had the effective date not been changed, the bill would have required a supermajority of 71 votes to pass.

Bernard Cherkasov of Equality Illinois called the vote historic. “Just as we passed every single measure of LGBT equality in the Land of Lincoln, the marriage bill passed with bipartisan support in both chambers, with suburban and downstate, African American and Latino lawmakers all coming together to do what is right by our families. I could not be prouder,” he said.

Kevin Cathcart, of Lambda Legal, which has sued the state for marriage equality, said, “History keeps moving forward — because we all keep pushing it in the direction of fairness.”

Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign said after the House vote, “Today the Land of Lincoln rededicated itself to the proposition that all are created equal. Thanks to principled impatience from state leaders in Springfield, the overwhelming momentum toward nationwide marriage equality continues to intensify.”

Marriage equality advocates cheered as they left the chamber and entered the Capitol rotunda.

Advocates also rallied in cities across the state that night, including at several large parties in Chicago.

And some offered offered marriage proposals. 

In Chicago, Peter Michakowski proposed marriage to his partner of 19 years beside one of the rainbow pylons on Halsted Street in Boystown.

“We were waiting for Illinois,” he said. “We could have gone to another state a long time ago. But we wanted to get married where we are from and where we live, like everyone else.”

Mahalia Campbell of Moline also proposed the night the House bill passed. She and her partner have been together 28 years.

“We’re planning to become June brides,” she said. “How traditional is that?”

Catholic bishop to perform exorcism when Ill. gov. signs marriage bill

Catholic Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield says he will offer prayers of “supplication and exorcism” on Nov. 20 at about the same time that Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signs the marriage equality bill into law.

Paprocki made the announcement in a news release posted on the Diocese of Springfield’s website. He said the “Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same-Sex Marriage” would take place at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield on Nov. 20 at 4 p.m.

He stated, “The context for this prayer service may be understood by recalling the words of Pope Francis when he faced a similar situation as Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010.”

Though Francis has repeatedly called for a kindler and more compassionate church, Paprocki focused on what the pope said when he was cardinal in June 22, 2010: “The Argentine people must face, in the next few weeks, a situation whose result may gravely harm the family. It is the bill on matrimony of persons of the same sex. The identity of the family, and its survival, are in jeopardy here: father, mother, and children. The life of so many children who will be discriminated beforehand due to the lack of human maturity that God willed them to have with a father and a mother is in jeopardy. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts. … Let us not be naive: it is not a simple political struggle; it is an intention [which is] destructive of the plan of God. It is not a mere legislative project (this is a mere instrument), but rather a ‘move’ of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

The prayers, according to the news release, come from the 2004 Latin edition of the Rite of Exorcism.

Paprocki said claimed same-sex marriage is contrary to the plan of God so those who contract civil same-sex marriage are culpable of serious sin. He also said politicians who enacted civil same-sex marriage legislation are “morally complicit as co-operators in facilitating this grave sin.”

Gay professor sues for wrongful firing and defamation after being found not guilty of raping young men

A former Ohio college professor found not guilty of rape and kidnapping charges has sued the university, which fired him, the police and the media, saying the matter “defamed and destroyed” his personal and professional life.

Hollant “Max” Adrien, 53, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Nov. 5 seeking $50 million from Springfield police, and $110 million combined from two newspapers and four TV stations.

He also sued Wittenberg University, seeking to be reinstated and awarded $2 million. In lieu of reinstatement, Adrien seeks $10 million from the university.

Adrien accuses the police department of maliciously arresting him in October 2012 and the university of improperly firing him two months before his trial, during which he was found not guilty.

Springfield police chief Stephen Moody and a university spokesman did not immediately return calls for comment.

Police arrested Adrien on Oct. 23 last year, saying they had connected him to three sexual assaults involving young men in Springfield.

As Adrien awaited trial, prosecutors dropped charges stemming from two of the cases — one because Adrien wasn’t living in Ohio at the time of the 2010 assault and the other over credibility issues involving the young man, who admitted lying to police about part of his story, records show.

Wittenberg University, where Adrien had worked as a French professor for about a year, fired him on Dec. 10, 2012, ahead of his February trial stemming from the last accusation, an alleged August 2012 rape and kidnapping of a 19-year-old developmentally disabled man.

The teen told police that a man had approached him in a car as he was walking and threatened to shoot him before driving the teen to a park and raping him. Police said the teen identified Adrien in a lineup.

Adrien testified that he got to know the man and had consensual sex with him in a car. He said he didn’t realize the young man was developmentally disabled, saying he thought the teen “just talked funny.”

In finding Adrien not guilty, Clark County Judge Douglas Rastatter said the evidence and testimony in the case weren’t convincing.

In his lawsuit, Adrien says the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services found he was fired for unjust cause. A department spokesman said that he was not allowed to confirm that.

In addition to the financial awards, Adrien wants a public letter of apology from Springfield police, accusing the department of causing “immeasurable destruction, unjust pain and suffering,” and “using and abusing their authority and the law to ensnare and defame me,” according to the lawsuit.

Also in the lawsuit, Adrien accuses university staff of violating its own policies in firing him before his trial and of treating him differently even before his court case based on his race, sexual orientation and national origin; Adrien was born in Haiti and is gay and black.

Illinois to become 15th state to legalize gay marriage

A long-awaited vote arrived on Nov. 5 in the Illinois House, with lawmakers approving a bill certain to make the state the 15th in the nation to legalize marriage for same-sex couples.

The House vote was 61-54 with two present for a measure that needed a final OK from the Senate. The Senate approved the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act on Valentine’s Day but the House changed the legislation, pushing back the effective date to June. That change meant the Senate had to vote again before sending the bill to Gov. Pat Quinn, who has said he will sign the measure into law.

The debate in the House began about mid-day on the third to last day of the fall veto session and after months of lobbying from Zion to Cairo. 

The House was expected to take up the legislation in the regular session. But on the last day of that session, on May 31, sponsor Greg Harris announced that there would be no vote, that his colleagues needed more time to discuss the issue with their constituents.

Harris, who is gay and represents a northside Chicago district, said he hoped the bill would be brought to a vote during the fall veto session.

And that’s what happened on Nov. 5.

“To treat all our citizens equally in the eyes of the law, we must change this,” Harris said of the Illinois prohibition against same-sex couples marrying.

Openly gay Rep. Kelly Cassidy, in a floor speech, said the bill could not be more personal — “It goes directly to how my family is defined by this state.”

She added, “Cast your vote for equality. For the right thing. Please, vote yes and join us on the right side of history.”

Rep. Jay C. Hoffman said, “I’ve listened to both sides, looked at the research and read the constitution. It’s clear: This is a matter of fairness.”

Republican Rep. Ed Sullivan, who represents Mundelein, urged members of his party to support the bill. He spoke about the personal impact of the legislation, about the impact of his mother-in-law, who is a lesbian, on his life.

Rep. Linda Chapa-Lavia, who was publicly undecided on the bill until Nov. 5, spoke on the floor, said the equality bill actually strengthens religious freedoms.

Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth said, “I am voting for marriage equality today because it is the right thing to do.”

Rep. Chris Welch spoke in favor of the bill, saying, “I love my wife. She loves me. We get that right. Why shouldn’t two people of the same sex?”

He added, addressing his colleagues, “Speak up for love! Speak up for fairness! Speak up for equality and vote for SB10!”

Chicago Democrat Sara Feigenholtz, long a leader on gay civil rights in the state, urged colleagues to join her in voting for the bill: “Say yes for dignity. Yes for respect. Yes for families all across Illinois.”

Opposing the measure, Republican Rep. Tom Morrison said same-sex marriage is unnatural and that “real marriage” between a man and a woman is “the building block of human civilization.”

Other opponents argued against the equality bill because it didn’t guarantee business owners the right to refuse to serve or sell products to same-sex couples.

After a lengthy debate, at about 4 p.m. CST, Harris returned to the microphone to close the arguments and bring the bill to a vote. “At the end of the day, this bill is about love. It’s about family. It’s about commitment,” he said, with emotion in his voice.

At 4:01 p.m., Harris said, Ladies and gentlemen, please vote yes.”

Sixty-one did vote yes. Fifty-four voted no. Two voted present.

To pass, the measure needed 60 votes. Had the effective date not been changed, the bill would have required a supermajority of 71 votes to pass.

Senate President John Cullerton said those in his chambers were prepared to take a second “yes” vote on the bill, and that came easily later on Nov. 5.

Quinn, who was in the House to watch the historic debate, has long said he’d sign the bill.

Illinois lawmakers back in session, fate of marriage equality bill uncertain

Illinois lawmakers were back in Springfield on Nov. 5 for several more days of the fall veto session, but it was unclear whether a bill to legalize same-sex marriage would be voted upon in the House.

The House was to convene at noon on Nov. 5 and scheduled to meet through Thursday.

Legislative leaders declined on Nov. 4 to say whether the House would take up the marriage equality bill that representatives failed to address during the regular session, which ended in late May. At that time, state Rep. Greg Harris, the bill’s sponsor, said there would be a delay on the vote until this fall so that his colleagues could hear from constituents.

The equality bill has the support of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and was approved by the state Senate on Valentine’s Day.

In a statement on Nov. 4, Bernard Cherkosov of Equality Illinois, the statewide LGBT civil rights group, said, “Over the course of the next few days we will be participating in final strategy meetings with Rep. Harris and other legislative allies. It will be up to Rep. Harris to make the final call on legislative strategy, but the momentum in our favor is inexorable.

“We’ll also be meeting one-on-one with legislators to answer any final questions and make the argument, again, that loving, committed gay and lesbian couples deserve the recognition, respect, and protections that only marriage can provide to them and their families.”

The veto session ends this week.

Gay marriage opponents invoke God, free speech in Illinois

Busloads of gay marriage opponents rallied outside the Illinois Capitol in Springfield this week, pledging to reverse any headway in the push for state legislation that would allow same-sex weddings.

Pastors, Christian activists and others addressed a crowd clustered on the first floor of the Capitol rotunda, some peering down from the second and third floor rails, a day after gay marriage proponents held their own event to urge lawmakers to approve it.

“Are we going to stay silent and let this happen?” Christian activist Jim Finnegan asked the crowd.

“Defend Marriage Lobby Day” – sponsored by the Illinois Family Institute began with a morning prayer service outside the state Capitol. The secretary of state’s police put number of attendees at 2,500 – slightly smaller than the estimate from Tuesday’s event.

Attendees began the day outside with a prayer service in front of the Lincoln statute, in front of which a large wooden cross printed with “God Abhors Civil Unions” had been placed.

Some attendees carried pictures of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and posters emphasizing their belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

“Kids do better with a mom and a dad,” one sign read.

Pastors from several of the area’s black mega-churches are trying to help blunt gay marriage advocates’ work to clinch a handful more “yes” votes to secure passage of the measure in the House. Activists are targeting moderate Republicans as well as socially conservative members of the largely Democratic House Black Caucus to get to the votes needed.

Same-sex marriage legislation passed the state Senate in February but has not been called in the House.

Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan said just weeks ago that about a dozen votes were still needed for the legislation’s passage. However, gay rights activist Rick Garcia said this week that the current count of “yes” votes was around 55 – progress that Wednesday’s rally attendees pledged to work to erode.

“If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything,” Larry Trotter, pastor of Sweet Holy Spirit Church in Chicago said, calling the “righteous to report for duty.”

At the rally for marriage equality held the day before, top state Democratic state officials along with Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka spoke.

Two Republican senators took to the podium at the anti-gay rally.

State Sen. Kirk Dillard, one of four GOP primary candidates for governor, cracked that if he were governor, such a rally might not have to be held. Dillard called the measure a violation of First Amendment rights, and pledged to veto any gay marriage legislation that might come across his desk.

Fellow Republican Sen. Jim Oberweis, who announced he’s gathering petition signatures for a U.S. Senate run against Durbin, reminded the group he’d long been an opponent of gay marriage.

Monsignor Carl Kemme of Springfield’s Catholic Diocese called marriage “God’s design, not man’s.”

On Oct. 22, the diocese head, Bishop Thomas Paprocki, barred any pro-gay marriage activists wearing rainbow sashes from attending a Mass. Kemme called Springfield a “fearless defender of the traditional definition of marriage.”

Illinois allowed civil unions in 2011 – a measure passed by a lame-duck Legislature following the November 2010 election. There are now 14 states, plus Washington D.C., where same-sex couples can without question enter into marriage.

Both Illinois chambers adjourned for the week on Oct. 23.

Poll finds majority support for marriage equality in Illinois

A new poll, released as Illinois lawmakers return to Springfield for a fall session that begins Oct. 22, shows majority of likely Illinois voters support legalizing same-sex marriage.

Lawmakers could, in the session, take up the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which has the support of the governor and passed the state Senate on Valentine’s Day. The measure did not pass in the House before the close of the regular session in May.

The new poll, released by Equality Illinois, shows that 52 percent of Illinois voters said they support legalizing marriage for same-sex couples. The number climbed two points to 54 percent when voters were informed of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the federal ban on recognizing same-sex marriages.

Equality Illinois contracted with Fako & Associates of Lisle, Ill., a national public opinion research firm, to conduct the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.94.

Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov said, “With Illinois same-sex couples suffering because they cannot access federal benefits available to married couples, the time is now in the fall legislative session for the House to complete its unfinished business on the marriage bill.”

He added, “With these poll results, there is certainly no political reason why representatives shouldn’t pass it in overwhelming numbers. There are simply no excuses left. We expect every House member who has expressed support publicly or privately for marriage equality or who has been leaning in favor of it to vote ‘aye.'”

The poll found:

• 52 percent supported legalizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples; 40 percent opposed.

• Support grew to 54 percent, with opposition dropped to 39 percent, when voters “contemplated” that Illinois gay and lesbian couples do not have access to more than 1,100 federal rights and protections stemming from marriage after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a section of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

• Support stayed solid at 53 percent, with 41 percent opposed, when pollsters read a statement about who supported the bill, including Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, and who opposed it, including Catholic Cardinal Francis George of Chicago and Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield.

• Catholics supported marriage fairness 61 percent to 32 percent; Catholic support increased to 63 percent, 31 percent opposed, when read the balanced statement that included the bishops’ opposition.

• Hispanic voters supported the freedom to marry 63 percent to 29 percent opposed, a level of support that increased to 70 percent when the Supreme Court decision was explained.

• African American voters favored the law by a 55 percent to 36 percent majority.

• Women supported the proposed marriage law 57 percent to 34 percent opposed.

• And the level of support among all the groups grew the younger the voter being interviewed: 63 percent of voters under 50 backed the law, and that grew to 78 percent support from voters under age 35.

Equality advocates rally ahead of sessions in Illinois, Hawaii

Marriage equality advocates in Hawaii and Illinois are turning out for days of action as their state lawmakers prepare for days of debate.

In Hawaii, Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie called a special session of the Legislature to take up his marriage equality bill. “The decision to call a special session is based on doing what is right to create equity for all in Hawaii,” the governor said.

In Illinois, lawmakers will gather at the Capitol in Springfield for a few days this month and again next month for a fall veto session that could include consideration of marriage equality legislation. A bill passed the Senate on Valentine’s Day and has the support of Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, but the measure was not called in the House in the final hours of the regular session on May 31.

Openly gay state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, with tears in his eyes, said that night on the floor, “Several of my colleagues have indicated they’d not be willing to cast a vote on this bill today. And I’ve never been sadder to accept this request, but I have to keep my eye, as we all must, on the ultimate prize. They’ve asked for time to go back to their districts, talk to their constituents and reach out to their minds and hearts and have told me they’ll return in November with their word that they’re prepared to support this legislation. And I take my colleagues at their word they shall.”

Throughout the summer, equality advocates lobbied lawmakers, as well as sought out support from citizens, businesses, clergy and others from Freeport to Cairo through the Illinois Unites for Marriage coalition.

The action continues this month, with volunteers staffing phone banks, knocking on doors and joining up for the March on Springfield set for Oct. 22, the first day of the veto session.

Still, it remains unclear whether sponsors have the 60 votes needed for passage in the House. The count, as well as a pension crisis, has led to speculation the equality bill could be pushed back to 2014.

Meanwhile, there was certainty that marriage equality legislation would be addressed during the special session in Hawaii – that’s the sole purpose of the gathering that begins on Oct. 28.

What’s not certain is the vote count.

“Some of my colleagues just don’t know how they’re going to vote in special session,” said state Rep. Chris Lee, who is an equality advocate working with the Hawaii United for Marriage effort. “Here’s what I can tell you from talking with some of my undecided colleagues: The only way we’ll convince them to vote for marriage equality is by mobilizing thousands of constituents in their districts to make phone calls, write letters and share why marriage personally matters to them.”

Those phone-banking operations and letter-writing campaigns are taking place, as are community forums.

Lawmakers and religious leaders also have been meeting to work on the language for the provision that would exempt religious institutions from being required to host same-sex weddings.

In both Illinois and Hawaii, same-sex couples can enter into civil unions, which means they can access many state benefits associated with marriage but not the more than 1,000 rights and benefits associated with marriage at the federal level.

Same-sex couples can marry in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

In the courts

A landmark case out of Virginia — Loving v. Virginia — clearly established that the ability to marry the person you love is a fundamental right, says David Boies. 

And Virginia is where Boies and Theodore Olson, the attorneys in the successful campaign to overturn California’s Proposition 8, are waging their next fight for same-sex marriage rights. The two recently joined the legal push to overturn the state’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The federal case was filed earlier this year on behalf of two same-sex couples seeking marriage equality in the state.

Meanwhile, in neighboring West Virginia, Lambda Legal has sued on behalf of three couples seeking the freedom to marry. Lambda is arguing that the state’s ban is discriminatory and makes same-sex couples second-class citizens.

Lawsuits for marriage equality are before courts in at least 19 states, including in New Mexico, where the state Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on the issue on Oct. 23.

Same-sex couples can marry in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Oregon officials said last week that the state would recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages and New Jersey same-sex couples began marrying in the state on Oct. 21.

– L.N.

Medical marijuana bill goes to Illinois Senate

Illinois physicians could prescribe marijuana to patients with specific terminal illnesses or debilitating medical conditions under legislation approved earlier this month by the state House.

The proposed legislation creates a four-year pilot program that requires patients and caregivers to undergo background checks, limits the amount of marijuana patients can have at a time, and establishes cultivation centers and selling points.

Lawmakers voted 61-57 to send the measure to the state Senate, where a version of the bill was approved in 2009. Senate President John Cullerton’s spokeswoman said he supports the legislation.

Gov. Pat Quinn hasn’t said whether he would sign the measure should it reach his desk.

Supporters said marijuana can relieve continual pain without triggering the harmful effects of other prescription drugs. They touted the legislation as a compassionate measure that would save patients from the agony caused by illnesses such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV.

“I know every single one of you have compassion in your heart, this is the day to show it,” said Rep. Lou Lang, the sponsor of the bill. “… Let people feel better, let them have a better quality of life.”

The bill lists more than 30 medical conditions for which patients can be prescribed marijuana.

The legislative proposal prohibits patients from growing their own marijuana. Instead, the state must approve 22 cultivation centers, as well as 60 dispensaries where patients could buy the drug after getting a prescription from a doctor with whom they have an existing relationship. The legislation sets a 2.5 ounce limit per patient per purchase.

Patients who choose to take marijuana automatically consent to submit themselves to a sobriety field test should a police officer suspect they were driving under the influence of the drug.

Lang, a Democrat from Skokie, said the bill is the strictest in the nation. Still, opponents say the program would encourage the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

“It’s going to cause confusion in our communities,” said Republican Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro. “… I will guarantee you that we will be back adjusting this legislation … because of the problems that can occur or we will be back in this floor for the legalization of marijuana.”

Lang and other supporters have been trying to legalize medical marijuana for several years. A measure that had cleared the Senate failed in the House in 2011, when six Republicans and 50 Democrats voted yes.

Quinn has said the bill’s sponsor hasn’t reached out to him to build support on the measure.

The Democratic governor said he was recently visited by a veteran suffering from war founds who was helped by the medical use of marijuana. Quinn said he was “impressed by his heartfelt feeling” on the issue.

“I’m certainly open-minded to it,” he said.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

A report issued earlier this month by the Pew Research Center poll showed that 77 percent of Americans say marijuana has legitimate medical uses.

Employment complaint filed, religious group fires pregnant woman

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a discrimination charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of Springfield, Ohio, resident Jennifer Maudlin, a single mother of two, against Inside Out, a religiously-based community organization.

The claim alleges that Inside Out fired Maudlin in September 2012 after she divulged that she was pregnant.

The ACLU also cites a pattern of hostile treatment toward other women who became pregnant while working at the organization.

“I just want to be able to work a decent job that allows me to provide a good life for my children,” said Maudlin. “I should not have lost my job just because I was pregnant.”

“When an employer fires a woman for becoming pregnant, that is illegal,” ACLU of Ohio legal director James Hardiman stated in a news release. “Every person has the right to bring children into the world without fear of reprisal by their employer.”

According to Maudlin’s EEOC claim, both married and unmarried women who become pregnant while working at Inside Out face hostile treatment, a pattern that has created “a culture of fear” among many women at Inside Out.

“Jennifer Maudlin was working hard to support her child, and to make a life for her new baby,” said Mie Lewis, an attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. “Firing her is not only illegal; it is akin to taking food out of her children’s mouths and the roof from their heads.”