Daniel Biss, Ill. marriage equality sponsor elected mayor of Evanston

Wed. February 24, 2021 5:25 PM by Gerald Farinas

Evanston, Ill. - Daniel Biss won his race for mayor of Evanston on Tuesday. Biss was state senator when he sponsored the bill that legalized Illinois marriage equality in 2013.

A failed candidate for governor in 2018, Biss used his already established network and funding to take on the open seat vacated by businessman Mayor Steve Hagerty.

Biss campaigned on progressive stances.

He said that policing has a history of systemic racism. Biss said policing has roots in “an unrelenting effort to control Black and brown bodies and protect the property of white people.”

Evanston is fast becoming an expensive place to live in, and affordability is affecting diversity. Biss said he wants city planning to be guided by “racial equity, anti-racism, inclusivity, and accessibility.”

But the three largest challenges Biss faces are the effects of COVID-19—the first retirement community hit by an outbreak of novel coronavirus in the Chicago-area is Three Crowns Park in Evanston; massive budget shortfalls; and economic development with an emphasis on helping people of color succeed in small business opportunities.

Biss was helped by name recognition from his gubernatorial campaign, and the following and fundraising of his LGBT allies who never forgot his role in marriage equality.

In 2013, Biss took to the Illinois Senate floor to share a story about his then-four year old son asking about the difference between Biss' marriage to his wife, and the civil partnership of family friends, former Evanston Ald. Mark Tendam (6th) and now-husband Neal Moglin. 

“It is not impressive that a 4-year-old would see all couples as equal,” Biss said at the time. “It will be impressive when we see that of a 14-year-old.”

The Senate bill for marriage equality passed on a 34-21 vote. The House followed suit.

Then-Gov. Pat Quinn signed it into law.

Biss, a new city clerk, and aldermen will take office in May.

Hagerty is the first mayor since 1941 to serve only a single term in office.