Perhaps the biggest loser in November 5's historic passage of a gay-marriage bill in Springfield was the National Organization for Marriage.
The group, based in Washington, DC, has been at the forefront of attempts to stop gay marriage in states throughout the country. A Maine investigation uncovered what it claimed were internal NOM documents about the group's strategy, including this passage: "The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks - two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize, and connect African-American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay-marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and -women as bigots. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party."
The organization tried all that in Illinois, spending tens of thousands of dollars on politically connected consultants and robo-calls into black districts in the spring, summer, and right up until the day of the vote, and holding media-friendly events in the black community. The bill wasn't called for a vote last spring mainly because black House members were overwhelmed by fervent local opposition.