Now that DOMA'S dead, will Obama and Clinton take fight to Illinois?

And when the Supreme Court believes the people are wrong, it will slap them again. The only way to stop that is for a constitutional amendment to define marriage. But neither Republicans nor Democrats will go there.

As the debate returns to the states, will Obama and Clinton return to Illinois to actively fight for gay marriage?

They're not strangers. Illinois is the birthplace of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who once described herself as a "lifelong Yankees fan" from Park Ridge.

Obama wasn't born here, but his politics were. Remember that he was the candidate who vowed to transcend the broken politics of the past, before importing future Mayor Rahm Emanuel and perhaps-future-gubernatorial-candidate Billy Daley to Washington to run his White House.

One thing both Obama and Clinton understand:

Illinois is a blue Democratic-machine state with a liberal Democratic governor and machine Democrat bosses controlling veto-proof supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature.

Yet with all that blue Democratic muscle, Illinois hasn't passed a law allowing gay marriage. Despite the ravings of a few dreamers, this isn't the fault of the Republicans. They control nothing.

The politician who controls things here is the boss of Illinois, the state Democratic Party Chairman and House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Madigan didn't push for the gay marriage bill. It didn't get enough votes. In real terms, he killed it. But he's also the most meticulous planner and best strategic political thinker in the state.

He doesn't do a thing without a reason.

Madigan angered gay activists. But he wouldn't risk his members, particularly African-Americans, in a final vote. Without them, he has no power, no fortune, no reach.

Many African-American politicians represent socially conservative districts. Democratic activists have no difficulty condemning conservative Republican Christians as "bigots." But a loud shame game targeting socially conservative, religious black voters who are the backbone of the Democratic Party is a different story.

So let's see what happens next on gay marriage in blue Illinois, where the machine Democrats rule.

jskass@tribune.com

Twitter @John_Kass

CHICAGO

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