U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case on Illinois Antigay Referendum: Lambda Legal Lauds Decision
(Chicago, February 20, 2007) -- Lambda Legal lauds today's United States Supreme Court refusal to hear a case brought by an Illinois antigay group that attempted to put a statewide advisory referendum opposing marriage and relationship rights for same-sex couples on the November ballot but lacked an adequate number of signatures.
"We are pleased that the United States Supreme Court rejected a desperate attempt to undermine the will of the people and push ahead a radical measure that the people of Illinois clearly did not want on their ballot" said James P. Madigan, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago, who worked on the Illinois Board of Elections and federal court proceedings in this case. "The Court has respected Illinois' right to apply the same referendum rules to everyone, and has stopped Protect Marriage Illinois from trampling the rights of Illinois voters."
Under Illinois law, Protect Marriage Illinois (PMI), the antigay Illinois group seeking the referendum, needed the support of 283,111 registered voters to place its proposed antigay referendum on the November 2006 ballot in Illinois. Lambda Legal represented the registered opponent of the referendum, Fair Illinois, a coalition of fair-minded Illinoisans that came together to oppose the referendum, and five individual objectors. In papers filed with the Board of Elections, Fair Illinois demonstrated that the petitions submitted by PMI were riddled with tens of thousands of invalid signatures. A random sampling by the Board of Elections also found insufficient support presented by PMI. PMI was unable to counter these findings. After being denied a place on the ballot by the Illinois State Board of Elections, the group brought the case to the US Supreme Court arguing that the Illinois requirements were unconstitutional under federal law, leading to today's denial to hear the case by the US Supreme Court.
In addition to Madigan, Fair Illinois and the objectors were represented by Lambda Legal's Director of Constitutional Litigation, Patricia M. Logue, and cooperating attorneys from Jenner & Block LLP (Jeffrey D. Colman, John R. Storino, Adam H. Morse and Erin M. O'Connell) as well as cocounsel Michael J. Kasper of Fletcher Topol O'Brien & Kasper PC and attorney Michael Kreloff.
Jackie Yodashkin 212-809-8585 ext.229; Email: [email protected]
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.