The question's out there of whether James Meeks, a Baptist minister and former senator, can be fair as chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education if he does not embrace gay rights. A response is that that questioner would not be fair to Meeks himself. On the floor Thursday, State Sen. Heather Steans read a statement from LGBT groups objecting to the appointment of Meeks. Ultimately, she voted Present while only one senator voted No.
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“Every day we start here (in the Senate) with a prayer, and that's okay. But we cannot inject that into government, and we cannot alienate other populations,” said that No voter, State Sen. Willie Delgado (D-Chicago).
“For a gentleman who has served, and as a minister of the Baptist faith, I believe he has at least demonstrated that he can be a man who will look at issues objectively,” said State Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago).
“There are concerns from the LGBT community about his stance on anti-bullying and those kinds of issues,” Steans said afterward, affirming her confidence in Meeks' educational leadership. “I voted Present just in balancing all of this out.”