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Speaker Madigan Delivers 13 Votes for Illinois Same Sex Marriage Bill

Speaker Madigan Delivers 13 Votes for Illinois Same Sex Marriage Bill

(Springfield, IL) – Insider: Tuesday’s successful House vote on the Illinois same sex marriage bill bore the unmistakable and outsize influence of House Speaker Michael Madigan.

As subscribers to The Illinois Observer’s e-newsletter, The Insider, learned yesterday after the House vote (subscribe here), of the 61 “yes” votes, the powerful House Speaker brought 13 to the winning tally, according to a top House Democratic source who reviewed the roll call.

The 13 were divided between 8 fence sitters and five potentially vulnerable lawmakers who wanted willing to vote for the bill, but on whom a brick had been placed by the Speaker’s political director.

“Madigan had to eyeball about eight members and had give Will the green light for the others who wanted to vote for it,” said the source, referring to Will Cousineau, the House Democratic Staff Issues Director.

“Cousineau may just need to work a little harder defending some,” the source added.

The eight “eyeballed” by Madigan included:

  • Luis Arroyo of Chicago
  • John D’Amico of Chicago
  • Anthony DeLuca of Chicago Heights
  • Thaddeus Jones of Chicago
  • André Thapedi of Chicago
  • Bob Rita of Blue Island
  • Al Riley of Olympia Fields
  • Pat Verschoore of Milan

The five that got the “green light” included four of five freshmen members:

  • Jehan Gordon-Booth of Peoria
  • Natalie Manley of Joliet
  • Marty Moylan of Des Plaines
  • Kathleen Willis of Villa Park
  • Stephanie Kifowit of Aurora

Gordon-Booth was first elected in 2008 to the state House seat previously held by Republican, anti-same sex marriage opponent and current U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock in an expensive contest, an expense that House Democrats were uneager to repeat in defending the seat.

The source was unsure about the Speaker’s contact with State Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Hoffman Estates), who was also on the fence until Tuesday’s vote, but a leading Democratic lawmaker said Madigan also secured Crespo’s “yes” vote.

That’s 14. But who’s counting?

Earlier speculation by political observers had asserted that bill proponents would only need Madigan’s intervention once their roll-call reached a solid 57 or 58 “yes” votes, relying on the Speaker to provide the last two or three votes – not 13 or 14.

Following the vote, Madigan and Harris were the only House lawmakers to appear at a press conference in the capitol’s new press room to discuss the floor vote and the bill’s broader impact.

“It is good to move society in a direction that does not engage in hate,” the Speaker said.

Madigan earned his spot at the podium.


Twitter @DavidOrmsby

(*Note to Political Insiders: The Illinois Observer also offers our exclusive, subscriber-only e-newsletter – The Insider – to, well, Illinois political insiders. Each Tuesday and Friday at 6:00 a.m. The Insider, whose Consulting Editor is Capitol Fax Publisher Rich Miller, arrives in e-mail boxes with the choicest Illinois, Cook County, and Chicago political gossip, insider information, and news tips. For more information and a free, 4-week trial subscription to The Insider, please go here).

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About David Ormsby

David, a Huffington Post blogger and an ex-Press Secretary of the Illinois Democratic Party, is a public relations strategist in Illinois.

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