The Illinois Senate's historic Thursday passage of a bill that would bring marriage equality to the land of Lincoln made for a special reason to celebrate on Valentine's Day for many -- but one Republican state lawmaker in particular was outraged by the actions of his peers.
State Sen. Kyle McCarter, whose district is located 25 miles east of St. Louis, Mo. in downstate Illinois, took to his Facebook page Thursday evening to decry the state Senate's 34-21 vote affirming the marriage bill as "damage done to the state."
"To redefine marriage is discriminatory towards those who hold the sincerely held religious belief that it is a sacred institution between a man & a woman," McCarter wrote Thursday.
The two status updates have been met with a steady stream of dozens upon dozens of comments, most of which oppose McCarter's position, most of which are being deleted shortly after their posting. Below is a screen capture of comments visible late Friday morning:
Earlier Thursday, McCarter argued against the bill because he said it would force flower shops and other "wedding-related" businesses to close -- a comment that drew laughter from many marriage equality supporters present for the vote.
"Businesses will be affected. Bed and breakfasts, florists, all those that are wedding-related, will be affected. They will choose to, most of them, dissolve their businesses. That’s what happened in other states," McCarter said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. At another point during his testimony, NewNowNext reports that McCarter pointed out that he took his "sweetheart" to a restaurant owned by a gay couple whom he described as both "friends" and individuals for whom marriage equality is not a priority.
McCarter also said Thursday that although he believes "people have the right to live as they choose," "[t]hey don't have the right to redefine marriage for all of us. ... We are jeopardizing freedom, not expanding it," the Chicago Tribune reports.