Chicago, IL —
Illinois Senator Heather Steans, the sponsor of a gay marriage bill in the Senate, said she hopes to move the bill shortly after lawmakers return in early February.
According to a report in the Windy City Times
, Steans (D-Chicago) is currently working with religious leaders to address concerns raised in the bill.
"We are working to address concerns expressed with particular language in the bill, and I expect we will take up the marriage bill sometime soon after our return," she said.
Steans and state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) reintroduced the "Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act"
into the new General Assembly on Jan. 9.
Opponents are concerned that language in the bill is unclear on religious protections.
Steans has previously stressed that the bill does not change the definition of religious marriage.
"I think it's important to understand first [that] this is civil marriage we're talking about. We're not changing the definition of religious marriage. ... This really is civil marriage. Churches can choose to solemnize or not, or any faith can. But no one who does not want to has to," Steans said during a Jan. 17 appearance on Current TV.
The General Assembly's spring session begins February 5.
If Illinois approves gay marriage nearly twenty percent of the U.S. population will live in states recognizing marriage equality, according to the Human Rights Campaign.Recent related coverage:Heather Steans says prospect of passing gay marriage in Illinois is 'great'Gov. Quinn on Illinois marriage equality: 'It's going to happen'Rahm Emanuel signs petition for freedom to marry in IllinoisIllinois United Methodist bishop states support for same-sex marriageIllinois business leaders come out in support of marriage equality