Guest blog posts / News & Politics

A Tale of Two States

CapellOBrienWedding Guest author Jerry Capell lives in Chicago with his Partner of 17+ years and two children.  On those rare occasions when he is not threatening his children with bodily harm, he is the CEO, President and co-founder of Bradford  Urban Renovators.

After years of taking a fairly belligerent view on getting married – not until it is legal in Illinois and we get Federal benefits – my now husband, Kevin, and I put together a hastily arranged marriage in New York City last weekend.  Ever the pragmatists, we consulted with our tax advisor and determined that given the IRS position on same sex couples filing jointly, the economic benefits of getting married in 2013 outweighed our need to wait for Illinois to get its act together.  After all, we had tickets to see Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz in the Broadway revival of Betrayal, so why not take advantage of being in one of the jurisdictions that recognized marriage equality.

Makes total sense right?  See a play about marital infidelity and then get married.  Excellent.

We knew before heading to New York that Illinois was close to marriage equality.  In fact, I recently wrote an update for VillageQ on this topic. Proceeding along both legislative and litigation paths, it was pretty clear that, sooner or later, Illinois was going to have marriage equality.  The real question for us and our tax guy was whether that would be in 2013.  In fact I commented to friends last weekend that marriage equality could come to Illinois as soon as Monday so I was only off by a day!!

And so I was delighted as I drove home yesterday, ear plastered to NPR, to hear that the Illinois House of Representatives had finally acted, and that marriage equality was coming to Illinois in June 2014.

Now do you see how a love of Broadway is essential to a happy and tax-efficient life?

But, as I tossed and turned and read the statistics on the vote, other reactions started to emerge.  You see, I live in Chicago, among the bluest of the blue places to live in America. So, logically, I assumed there would be overwhelming support for marriage equality, at least among Democratic Representatives.  Imagine my surprise when looking at the final tally, I realized that nearly 20% of Democrats had voted no or present.  The final vote, 61-54, reflects 53% support, which approximates that national polling average.  In Illinois.


In fact, bill sponsors had to rely on 3 Republicans who crossed party lines to support the measure.

Really really?

And why June 2014 you might ask. Apparently through some kind of strange procedural mechanism, the bill only needed a simple majority, 60 votes, to pass as long as the date of implementation was amended/delayed and the bill was sent back to the Illinois Senate where it had already passed.   Whereas to enact the bill immediately upon the governor’s signature, it would have required 70 votes, which was clearly not possible.  Fortunately, the Senate passed the amended bill and the governor has promised to sign, so we can feel pretty darn secure that those who want to take advantage of Federal tax benefits for the 2013 tax year can go elsewhere to get married.  The Mayor of Minneapolis was in Chicago recently touting his city as the place to tie the knot for same sex couples.


I don’t mean to sound ungrateful.  I am profoundly grateful that Illinois will now be the 15th state as well as D.C. to respect marriage equality.  But I can’t help contrast all of this with the incredibly wonderful experience we had in New York where, as I recall, passage of marriage equality required a good old-fashioned Bronx style bash too. But now, it is really so easy. If only passage of marriage equality in Illinois could have been so.


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  1. Thank you, Jerry and Congrats
    I’m a bit confused. So, is there a possibility that the Senate and the Governor would expedite the implementation of this law?

    These morons that we have as elected officials! Imagine passing a bill like “all citizens, regardless of race, are equal under the law” — not valid until Nov 28, 2016.

  2. Pingback: 2013: The Year in VQ Review - VillageQ

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