The Marriage Bill Right Next Door at UIC

It was perfect timing.

IMG_8994For the fall 2013 semester at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), I was teaching the course “Mass Media and Politics,” connecting the dots between campaigns, elections, and the push behind key contemporary issues.

On Wednesday afternoon, November 20, my students had the opportunity to see the results of the interplay of politics and the media first hand, in the UIC backyard.

That’s when Illinois Governor Pat Quinn officially signed into law Senate Bill 10 (“The Religious Freedom & Marriage Fairness Act”) in a public ceremony at the UIC Forum.

I was there, along with many of the students.

There were several scenarios to observe, all putting individual imprints on the chronicle.

At the main stage were the political figures, accompanied by musical performances, slide shows, and videos. They spoke, sometimes in excited detail, sometimes with only a few words. Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan respectfully and concisely thanked the leadership behind the legislation.

IMG_8648The media spaces at the UIC Forum included a 36-foot long center camera platform and other side camera spots. Blogging positions, reporter sections, and radio production tables.

Media interviews began with the people standing in line outside, and reporting continued right through the exit doors at the end.

DSCN9337 - CopyThere were also countless images captured* among the 2000+ attending, “selfies” confirming that they were there, when and where.

After nearly an hour, the signing moment arrived and illustrated one more aspect of the process: political bragging rights souvenirs.

As Governor Quinn officially signed the paperwork, he used approximately 100 different pens, jotting just a bit of ink with each. One person behind me attempting to video the entire signing quit after nearly 10 minutes, and it still was not done.

IMG_8739After the governor left the stage and headed to the exit, he also autographed a few programs for some of those attending. (That pen, he kept.)

At our final course session for the semester, the students and I discussed that public event as well as the entire legislative process with an issues lobbyist. We analyzed not only what had happened that day, but how and why leading up to it.

“Mass Media and Politics” with a real life conclusion.

Text and photographs © 2014 Walter J. Podrazik, plus *photo by Emma Lockmiller

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