PI Original Adam Doster Thursday September 3rd, 2009, 10:04am

Giannoulias Supports Same Sex Marriage

Alexi Giannoulias has expressed strong support for same-sex marriage, the first major statewide candidate to do so in Illinois.

Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown breaks some exciting news in the race for U.S. Senate. In an interview with State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, the Democrat came out boldy in favor of same-sex marriage, the first major statewide candidate to take that position in Illinois history. He also backs a slate of other crucial civil rights reforms, including the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. From the piece:

"This goes to what this country was founded on -- equality and fairness," said Giannoulias, emphasizing that he sees same-sex marriage as a constitutional and legal issue in the context of past civil rights struggles. [...]

"This is what I believe in, and I'm sure not everyone is going to agree with me," Giannoulias told me in advance of his campaign issuing a position paper later this week. "I'd like to think the public is more accepting of gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships. It could be risky, but it's what I believe."

It's only natural that the 33-year old Giannoulias would come out in full support for equal rights. While opposition to same sex marriage is strong among those over 40, a wide majority (58 to 35 percent) of Millennials support the practice. And his position stands in direct contrast to Republican candidate Mark Kirk, himself one of the few supposed supporters of gay rights in the GOP. A spokesperson told Brown that "Congressman Kirk opposes gay marriage, supports the Defense of Marriage Act, and agrees with President Clinton's policy of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell.'" Moderate positions, those are not.

Giannoulias thinks that we will revisit this marriage debate in a decade and "be amazed we didn't do this sooner." He's exactly right. But we're very glad he's pushing the agenda now.

UPDATE (11:45 am):  The Giannoulias campaign has now included a GLBT issues page on its website, which you can read here.

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