This is the address Senator Biss gave in support of Senate Bill 10, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, on Thursday.

Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) addresses the Senate on Thursday in support of Senate Bill 10, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.A month ago, after this issue was last debated in this chamber, my wife and I sat and talked about it at the kitchen table. Our 4-year old son, Elliot, overheard our conversation and asked what we were talking about.

"A bill in Springfield," I told him.

He asked, "When they voted on the bill, were there more green lights or more red lights?"

"Well, it didn't get enough green lights to pass," I explained.

"Is that what you wanted to happen?"

I answered: "No. I was hoping the bill would pass."

And so he asked: "Why, Daddy?"

"I thought the bill was a pretty good idea. It said that our friends Mark and Neal can be together just like Mommy and Daddy."

Elliot thought about this quietly for awhile. Finally, with a puzzled look on his face, he said "But, Daddy, they already are!"

At first, I was proud of Elliot -- proud that he could be so open and accepting at the tender age of 4. But after a moment, I realized that there was nothing surprising about a small child looking at a loving couple committed to living together in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, and seeing a marriage like any other. After all, we're not born differentiating between people based on race, color, creed, religion, or sexual orientation. No, that's learned behavior.

It's not impressive for a 4-year old to see all couples as equal. What would be impressive is for a 14-year old to feel the same way. That's because Elliot is going to spend the next decade bombarded by signals telling him that same-sex couples aren't truly legitimate or entitled to equal rights. These signals will come from popular culture, from peers in school, from adults, and -- at least as of this moment -- from the government of the state of Illinois.

And that brings me to the question before us today. The question is whether Illinois -- land not only of Abraham Lincoln but also of Jane Addams, Richard Wright, Studs Terkel, Aaron Swartz, and Barack Obama, a state with a proud history of social action for openness, equality, and civil rights -- will continue to enshrine discrimination in its law, and in doing so send a signal to all citizens that discrimination is appropriate. Or, instead, will we make a stand for justice and grant all couples equal access to the rights and responsibilities of marriage?

On behalf of all my gay and lesbian constituents, who have waited quietly and patiently for far too long for the right to simply be treated like everyone else, I ask you to vote yes. Please push that green button -- fill that board with beautiful green lights -- so we can show the world and teach all our children that the state of Illinois stands for equality.

Thank you.

Category: Press Releases

biss75x75SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), who co-sponsored the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, hailed the Senate's approval of the measure, which would legalize marriage for same-sex couples. Biss issued the following statement:

During today's debate on the Marriage Fairness Act, I told my colleagues about my son Elliot. At age four, he is open and accepting. But there's nothing surprising about a small child seeing a loving same-sex couple committed to living together in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, and seeing a marriage like any other. After all, we're not born differentiating between people based on race, color, creed or sexual orientation. That's learned behavior.

Unfortunately, Elliot may spend the next decade bombarded by signals telling him that same-sex couples aren't legitimate or entitled to equal rights. These signals will come from popular culture, from peers in school and from adults. Today the Senate took a stand and said those signals will no longer come from the State of Illinois.

On behalf of all my gay and lesbian constituents, who have waited patiently for far too long for the right simply to be treated like everyone else, I voted yes. I voted to teach all our children that Illinois stands for equality.

Category: Press Releases

biss75x75SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement in response to the governor's State of the State address:

The key to the state of the state's finances is taking control of our escalating pension obligations. As always, I'm glad the governor appreciates the urgency of the situation. I look forward to working with my colleagues this session on a solution that respects the contributions of public employees while freeing government to devote adequate resources to education, human services and other vital work of the state.

Category: Press Releases

bissinaugFormer State Representative Daniel Biss (D-Skokie) was appointed and sworn into the Illinois State Senate's 98th General Assembly this week.

"I have been fortunate in my time serving the people of Illinois as their state representative," Sen. Biss said. "I applaud Senator Schoenberg for his many years of leadership and political expertise. I can only hope to carry on his legacy as a senator who represents the values of our community and serves the best interests of the people of Illinois."

Biss succeeds Jeff Schoenberg as the senator of the 9th Senate District, which includes Golf, Kenilworth, Northfield, Wilmette and Winnetka, and parts of Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Morton Grove, Northbrook and Skokie.

A former mathematics professor, Biss is passionate about our environment and our economy. He works to find new ways to stimulate our state's struggling economy while ensuring that growth is consistent with good stewardship of our natural resources.

Biss is most well known from his term as a state representative for his diligent work on reforming the state's pension system. He was instrumental in the drafting of a bill during the 97th General Assembly's veto session which would fully fund the state pension system in 30 years.

While Biss is proud of the accomplishments of the 97th General Assembly and looking forward to embarking on his new path in the Legislature, he recognizes that there is still plenty of work to be done.

"We have had to make some very difficult choices in the past, and there are undoubtedly many more difficult choices to come," Biss said. "But I am very much looking forward to continuing to work toward getting Illinois back on track."

Category: Press Releases

Contact Me

District office:
3706 Dempster St.
Skokie, IL 60076
(847) 568-1250
(847) 568-1256 FAX

Springfield office:
417B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-2119

Email:
biss@senatedem.illinois.gov

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