msnbc | February 04, 2013
>>> president obama says the boy scouts membership should not only be courteous and kind but a model for equality. in yesterday's interview that aired on cbs before the super bowl , he was asked point-blank if the group should lift its national ban on lgbt individuals.
>> should scouting be open to gays?
>> why so?
>> well, because i think that my attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does.
>> not everybody agrees with that. texas governor and former republican presidential candidate rick perry says the scouts should not soften its anti-gay stance. perry is a former eagle scout .
>>> so the push for equality is also gaining momentum in illinois . state senate leaders there believe the marriage equality bill that they have drafted has enough votes to pass and are pushing to do so by valentine's day. joining me now to talk about that is illinois state senator heather stains. great to have you with me. let's dive in and talk about this. we have seen marriage equality measures pass throughout the country, most vividly and historically by popular vote in november. so explain to all of us how your bill may differ from laws that already exist on the books in your home state.
>> well, currently we have civil unions . we passed civil unions about two years ago in illinois . so what we're now going to be looking at in the senate executive committee tomorrow and then tomorrow and then next week hopefully to the full senate floor for a vote is providing freedom to marry for gays and lesbians chshgs will give them access to the full benefits of marriage. if the federal supreme court overturns doma, the defense of marriage act , which the supreme court is hearing that in march and april later this year.
>> you know, we've been hearing a lot from people on the right. you know, national elected leaders from your state talking about this issue. while this is something that are you putting forward on a state level initiative, there is a split among gop colleagues. i want to play for everybody because congressman from illinois who has come out against the repeal of doma and against the president and the fact that the department of justice is not going more aggressively after those cases, he was questioned about his support or lack thereof for marriage equality . let's take a listen.
>> why don't you support that issue, by the way?
>> well, i -- i just haven't.
>> i mean, is there a reason? it seems to be a few states have passed it. obviously that's -- the needle is moving, and i just wonder what the reason is.
>> i think everybody has a set of beliefs on issues, social issues in particular, that they -- that are a reflection of how they were raise and their set of beliefs.
>> it seems like the congressman there was caught flat-foot odd that question that he has been out front of before, and there has been talk that he might be interested in running for governor of illinois . does that make you worry based on where the vote count stands right now to get marriage equality passed by the 14th?
>> well, two things. first, i want to point out that this is civil marriage . fully protect religious freedom as well, that no religious faith , tradition will have to solemn niz or consecrate any marriage it chooses not to do so, so this is really civil marriage and proceeding equal access to everybody under our laws while protecting freedom of religion . the second point is when we heard this exec committee earlier in january the republican leader indicated she was hoping very much it would be a bipart sfwlan bill, that we could work out some language issues chshgs we have been doing with some republicans. i don't think this should be a partisan issue, but, you know, we'll have to see how the vote actually goes, but i certainly hope we can get bipartisan support.
>> illinois state senator heather, thank you for joining us. i appreciate your time and for everybody else , we'll be right