Springfield, IL —
Valentine's Day could be the day Illinois moves closer to becoming the 10th state to legalize gay marriage.
"I'd like to pass it out of committee next week and pass it on Valentine's Day," Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) told the Chicago Sun-Times
Editorial Board on Thursday.
Supporters attempted to approve a marriage bill last month during the General Assembly's lame-duck session.
State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and state Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago) reintroduced the "Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act" into the new General Assembly on Jan. 9.
Steans, who is currently working with religious leaders to address concerns raised in the bill, said she is optimistic about the bill's prospects in the upcoming legislative session, which begins February 5.
Cullerton told the Sun-Times
that he believes the legislation has the necessary 30 votes to pass and move to the House. On Monday during a speech at the City Club of Chicago Cullerton said the timing is right.
"I believe that the Senate president would not have announced a timeline on the bill if he did not think it had the votes to pass," Equality Illinois
CEO Bernard Cherkasov told the Windy City Times
Cherkasov told the paper that Equality Illinois
(EQIL) and Illinois Unites for Marriage, a coalition of gay rights groups headed by EQIL, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois, have added staff dedicated solely to the marriage campaign.
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.Related coverage:Illinois Senate President John Cullerton: Timing is right for gay marriageIllinois gay marriage push expected soon after February returnHeather 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