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article imageIllinois State Senate passes same-sex marriage legislation

By Greta McClain     Feb 14, 2013 in Politics
Springfield - In what some are calling the "Valentine Vote", the Illinois State Senate has voted on a bill that will legalize same-sex marriage.
In a 34-21 vote, the Senate voted to approve the measure, marking the first time a marriage equality bill has passed on either floor of the legislature. The bill did not pass without debate however. Sen. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon), voiced strong opposition to the bill, using biblical quotes as well as quotes from Thomas Jefferson before saying:
"We're knocking down one of the basic foundations of society."
Sen. William Haine (D-Alton), was also opposed to the measure calling it a "profound change" and "sacrilegious" before saying:
"We are doing it on the basis of emotion and the needs of citizens who actively vote."
Haine also argued that the bill does not go far enough to ensure churches are not forced into sanctioning same-sex marriage. Supporters of the measure pointed out that there is no provision in the bill that would force any denomination, church or minister to perform a marriage ceremony for same-sex couples.
Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) sponsored the bill and called the vote “a vote for the history books.” She went on to tell fellow legislatures:
“We have the opportunity today to welcome all families in Illinois as equally valued."
The bill goes before the state House, where some believe it will have a more difficult time passing. According to Reuters, Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross has sated he is unsure if the bill will gain any Republican support. There is also concern that some African-American House members will oppose the measure due to pressure from pastors. However, Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), who is also sponsoring the bill, has said he believes “the prospects are very good” in the House, telling Freedom to Marry:
"The momentum is building. More and more House members are telling me they want to be on the right side of history and that they intend to support the bill. Support for marriage equality is growing nationally, and in Illinois, it is clear that treating all families equally in the eyes of the law is the right thing to do."
If the measure passes a House vote, the current wording in Illinois state law would change from defining marriage as an act between a woman and a man to simply saying and act between two people. Couples who are already in recognized civil unions would automatically be considered married within one year of the law going into affect. Governor Pat Quinn has previously stated he would sign any bill legalizing same-sex marriage into law.
Passage of the legislation would mean Illinois would join the District of Columbia and nine other states in legalizing same-sex marriage. Legislators in Hawaii, Rhode Island and Delaware are also considering legislation to legalize gay marriage this year.
More about Illinios, Illinois State Senate, Legislature, Vote, Bill
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