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Nobody calls it a culture war anymore. But as much as anytime in the
last generation right now, there are definitely two sides on this issue.
Joining us now is the governor Illinois, Pat Quinn.
Governor Quinn, thank you very much for being with us tonight. It`s
nice to see you.
GOV. PAT QUINN (D), ILLINOIS: Yes, same here, Rachel. How are you
MADDOW: I`m good. Thank you.
Why did you decide to champion civil unions a couple of years ago and
why did you decide to make it such a priority to pursue equal marriage
rights in Illinois?
QUINN: Well, Dr. King once said it`s always the right time to do the
right thing. It is the right and, you know, it`s ironic, today is the
150th anniversary of the Gettysburg address delivered by Abraham Lincoln of
Illinois. And I was at his tomb this morning, and at the presidential
library last night where we heard the Gettysburg address.
And it begins right at the beginning with saying, "We`re a nation
conceived in liberty and we`re dedicated to the proposition that all men
are created equal." So, liberty and equality, that`s what marriage
equality is all about. And it`s very important that our state I think send
a message because we`re the most representative in the Union of the whole
And by signing the bill into law tomorrow for marriage equality, we`ll
be the 16th state and I hope we can spread the movement all across the
other 34 states in the Union.
MADDOW: When you look at the future of this issue, particularly in
your state, now that you`re going to have this change in the law, do you
think that is -- that fact in the law and the fact of equally married
couples in your states is going to continue to change the politics around
this issue? There was a big issue in Illinois Republican politics when the
state chairman essentially was forced out of that job in the Republican
Party for supporting equal marriage rights.
Do you think that changes once people can get married in Illinois?
QUINN: I sure hope so. You know, there was a chairman of the
Republican Party in our state who favors marriage equality and he was
drummed out of the party basically, kicked out.
But, you know, the people are way ahead of politicians on this issue.
And I -- the people of Illinois favored marriage equality by a good
majority, and it was really special I think two weeks ago when the debate
occurred in the Illinois House that led to the passage of the bill, it was
very reverent and important debate, people listened and spoke from the
And that`s what it`s all about, that`s what democracy is all about.
And I think the process of democracy will lead to more states adopting
marriage equality, I hope sure so. And our state`s a big state. We`re the
fifth largest in the country and I sure hope we can get marriage equality
in Texas real time soon.
MADDOW: Well, on that issue of Texas, obviously, as governor, you`re
commander in chief of the National Guard in your state as --
MADDOW: -- as Governor Perry is in Texas. I`ve got to ask your
reaction to his decision to refuse to afford equal treatment to all married
couples among service members, defying a direct order by the Pentagon,
pushing that conflict actually further now. He`s now adding additional
things that same-sex service members, families are not allowed to do in the
state of Texas. They are being sent to federal offices instead.
What`s your reaction to that?
QUINN: Well, he`s just plain wrong. You know, as commander in chief
of our Illinois National Guard, I went to Iraq and Afghanistan a couple of
years ago with Governor Perry. As a matter of fact, I was his roommate and
I was sentenced to the harshest punishment known to man, seven days on the
road to Rick Perry.
And I don`t agree with him on his position on discriminating against
those who have a right under federal law to marry and have their rights
recognized by the United States military. I think it`s very, very
important that we protect all of our service members who volunteer, answer
the call of duty, defend our democracy, our right of government of the
You know, Abraham Lincoln a long time ago, he was in Illinois National
Guard and he understands how important it was to volunteer to defending our
democracy. And that`s what we believe in Illinois, we`re a welcoming
state. We don`t want to where like any state that would discriminate
against people when it comes to equality in the matter of love.
MADDOW: Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois, thank you for your time
tonight. I imagine that planning ceremony tomorrow is going to be a lot of
fun. I hope you enjoy it, sir.
QUINN: Yes. We`re going to have 3,000 or more people packed
together. It`s going to be a special day for democracy.
MADDOW: It`s going to be a big day in Illinois. Thank you, sir.
Appreciate your time.
QUINN: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
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