Illinois LGBT votes — key for Alexi Giannoulias — are in jeopardy

CHICAGO — Governor Pat Quinn expects civil unions in Illinois by the end of 2010. Nationwide, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) voters are angry with Democrats.

Little doubt the timing for the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’s” reversal was an accident, but what does the loss of crucial LGBT votes mean for the US Senate race in Illinois? Could it mean a loss for Alexi Giannoulias?

LGBT voters in Cook County

With many key races shaved closer than a military crew cut, Cook County’s LGBT 7% of voters could easily tip the US Senate race between Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk. Who will take the initiative and capture the LGBT votes in Chicago?

Currently, the Senate race between Giannoulias and Kirk is a tossup, with Kirk leading by less than three percent. That makes the loss of LGBT votes for Democrats in the Senate race a loss for Giannoulias in November if he doesn’t work to recapture crucial votes from the gay community.

With a lack of progress in gay rights, the LGBT voting community, who traditionally have voted Democrat, are looking at alternative candidates or no candidates in November’s election.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell military policy

Many LGBT voters will vote for anyone but incumbents, or not at all, due to DADT’s overturning according to MSNBC. President Barack Obama’s administration has asked for a temporary respite on the DADT decision, which was agreed upon on October 20.

At best, DADT policies are controversial. DADT still doesn’t allow the same fundamental rights for gay members of the military as it does for straight military members.

Quinn and civil unions before 2011

Quinn believes the fall veto session has enough votes to legalize civil unions in Illinois, according to ABC News. While civil unions aren’t “marriage” they do provide gay couples the same legal rights as straight couples, and would be a positive step for LGBT rights in Illinois.

Quinn believes he is a strong supporter of gay rights and feels that legalizing civil unions will promote “tolerance” in Illinois. This may aid Quinn with capturing the LGBT community’s votes over Bill Brady, who is opposed to civil unions or recognition of gay marriage, but does it help Democratic Senate Candidate Alexi Giannoulias?

The 2010 election in Illinois continues to maintain more excitement than a Jersey Shore marathon. I’m regretting not starting a fantasy politics league just to sling some mud at my friends or host debate night drinking game parties. The level of candidate’s maturity and (lack of) focus on the issues lends to my own regression. Will the LGBT voting community realize the timing of DADT’s repeal seems just a little too convenient? Will US Senate candidates, Giannoulias or Kirk, campaign to recapture Chicago’s gay voting community?


ABC News. (2010, October 6). Retrieved October 25, 2010, from http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/politics&id=7710121

Ambinder, Mark. (2010, October 21). Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell Guidance Expected, The Atlantic. Retrieved October 25, 2010, from http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/10/dont-ask-dont-tell-guidance-expected/64935/

Erbentraut, Joseph. (2010, October 8). Quinn: “The Votes Are There” for Civil Unions in Illinois, The Chicagoist. Retrieved October 25, 2010, from http://chicagoist.com/2010/10/08/quinn_the_votes_are_there_for_civil.php

Real Clear Politics. (2010). Illinois Senate: Giannoulias vrs. Kirk. Retrieved October 25, 2010, from http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2010/senate/il/illinois_senate_giannoulias_vs_kirk-1092.html

Webber, Tammy. (2010, October 24). Gay Voters Angry at Democrats Could Sway Election, MSNBC. Retrieved October 25, 2010, from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39821451/ns/politics-decision_2010/

Originally reported by Yahoo. Read the original story here.

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