Wilco's Jeff Tweedy has supported same-sex marriage in a recent letter to the editor of his hometown Illinois paper, the Belleville News-Democrat. Writing in support of the state's SB10 measure – which ensures "all laws of [Illinois] applicable to marriage apply equally to marriages of same-sex and different-sex couples and their children" – Tweedy urges his fellow citizens to back the bill.
"In my travels, I've witnessed firsthand that gay and lesbian couples want to marry for the same reasons all of us do – to share a lifetime of commitment. I feel very strongly that everyone should be able to marry the person he or she loves and enjoy the dignity and respect that comes with that commitment," Tweedy wrote. "By excluding same-sex couples from marriage, our state saddles them, their children and itself with second-class status. That is wrong, and it hurts Illinois families and businesses."
The rocker continued, "Nine other states have already extended the freedom to marry to gay and lesbian couples. I work and have friends in all those states, and I can say assuredly that it's time for Illinois to join them. Waiting and sending the signal that we're not open to and supportive of that community is a big mistake. The time is now."
Tweedy grew up in Belleville, an exurb of St. Louis in southwestern Illinois, where his first band Uncle Tupelo was based. The singer has spoken in favor of same-sex marraige before, teaming with Bob Mould and Minor Threat/Fugazi leader Ian MacKaye last year to oppose a proposed amendment to ban gay marriage in North Carolina. The ban eventually passed.
SB10 was successfully passed through the Illinois State Senate last month, though the State House of Representatives hasn't held its final vote on the measure. The Chicago Tribune notes the legislation recently gained approval in a House committee, but Speaker Michael Madigan estimates that the bill is around a dozen votes short of the necessary 60 to pass. If SB 10 successfully passes through the House, governor Pat Quinn has said he will sign the bill.