We celebrate today as Illinois becomes the 13th state in the union to recognize civil unions for gays. It is a big, wonderful and woefully inadequate step toward equality for lesbians and gays.
And it reminds us that every time a minority group, long discriminated against, makes progress toward equality, it comes in a series of steps. The challenge is to celebrate the step — and civil unions are a notable upgrade — while not being satisfied for a single second until all the boundaries come down.
And for gays, and for all of us, the next boundary is marriage.
If marriage is all it is cracked up to be — and it is, and it isn’t — then there is no legitimate basis not to extend it to all adult members of our society. The change is coming. We all must work to speed it.
In Oak Park we can take satisfaction in our early steps toward rights for gay citizens. Going back to the 1990s, Oak Park’s backing of the domestic partnership registry was bold and right and consistent with this village’s history of civil rights leadership.
Now we have a day when, among many, one of our village trustees, Colette Lueck, will enjoy the rights and respect that a civil union will provide to her and to her partner. And we look forward to the day when this interim, half-step toward equality will look as quaint as the domestic partnership registry already does.