Dan wrote yesterday about the bigotry displayed by Republicans voting against Civil Unions in Illinois. Well, one of the State Senators who voted against the bill, the Reverend James Meeks, head Jeebus-Promoter of a 20,000 member African-American church on Chicago's South Side, probably just cost himself a real shot at being Mayor.
Quick explanation: municipal elections in Chicago have a weird structure (besides the whole Dead People Vote stuff). Primaries are open, and if one person gets 50% plus one vote, they win and don't have to run in the general election. With Mayor Richard M. Daley stepping down, we have 20 people running, with Rahm Emmanuel the consensus mortal lock/insider candidate who will maintain the status quo. But if he doesn't get 50% plus one vote, there will be an election against the second-place candidate. With numerous African-American candidates (3 major ones besides Meeks—US Rep. Danny Davis, former Senator/Chump Carol Mosely Braun, and Roland Fucking Burris) Meeks had a genuine shot at being that second-place finisher and then perhaps taking Rahm down (assuming Rahm's on the ballot: his residency is being contested).
But with this vote against Civil Unions, Meeks has eliminated any chance he might have had. Simple fact: gays in Chicago vote. And they remember. And no African-American mayoral candidate has a shot at the office on the fifth floor of City Hall without the votes of white Lakefront Liberals, ie, the gays and their family and friends. Meeks did some CYA meetings with Gay Leaders to Explain He Wasn't a Bigot, but when it came time to show this in a substantive rather than a rhetorical way, he stuck to his homophobic guns. And now he's done.