Okay, yes. Looking at the New York Times House election results map for Illinois you may see a big giant red blob. This is true.
We lost three major allies in the US House of Representatives last night: Debbie Halvorson, Bill Foster, a great man and a great lawmaker, and super-ally Phil Hare, who has sponsored about every piece of pro-LGBT legislation that has ever appeared in those chambers. We're on the verge of also losing another ally any moment now in Melissa Bean, but as of writing, that race is too close to call.
The big news of the night is, of course, President Obama's former US Senate seat goes to half-and-half LGBT fairweather friend, Republican Mark Kirk, instead of staunch ally, but scandal-ridden, Alexi Giannoulias. I don't gamble, but I might actually put money on the chances that, had his family's business not collapsed, he'd be the Senator-elect from Illinois right now. So if Durbin plans to retire next time around, I'm sure Mr. Giannoulias has a fantastic shot at winning.
Even though it was a bad night for LGBT allies in Illinois, it was a great night for LGBT candidates.
Three out of the seven openly gay candidates on the ballot in Illinois won. Though there will not be any new out members of the Illinois House or Senate, joining easily reelected Deb Mell and Greg Harris, we have one great pick-up--my friend Christopher Boyster will join the Sangamon County Board, overseeing the area that includes the state Capital, Springfield.
Four candidates that worked hard and may have another shot in a more progressive year: Kent Delay; who ran for Illinois's House, John Dalton; who would have been the first openly gay Judge in the state, a gay Republican named Wes Fowler who ran for the Cook County Board (that's Chicago's county), and gay Green party candidate Bob Mueller.
Things weren't totally terrible in the Republican tide. GOP LGBT-ally Judy Biggert holds her seat, which is good news, because even if the delegation from Illinois is almost completely red now, Judy is a staunch friend of the community.
And then, of course, there's the still-contested Governor's race which seems likely to go to Governor Quinn now, who is over 9,000 votes ahead. Let me tell you. That is a sigh of relief. If Governor Quinn lost to Bill Brady, the state would be in big trouble. Quinn has indicated he would sign some sort of relationship recognition bill if it got to his desk, though he's personally opposed to marriage equality (they all say that).
Brady wanted to undo gender-identity and sexual orientation inclusive employment protections in the state, and is well-loved by the SPLC hate-group, the Illinois Family Institute. Good riddance, Brady. Hope I never have to see you again!
Oh yeah, in terms of getting that relationship bill passed, we would need Democratic majorities in both chambers. The Democrats will keep the Senate, and are likely to hold onto the House, though they'll lose their "veto-proof" majorities in both chambers.
All is not lost in Illinois.