VIDEO: Illinois Senate debate on gay marriage bill

Fri. February 15, 2013 12:42 PM by News Staff

illinois senate floor debate on sb 10

Illinois Senate debate on SB 10, February 12, 2013

Springfield, IL - In a historic Valentine's Day vote, the Illinois Senate passed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act by a vote of 34-21 on Thursday. If the bill is approved by the House, Illinois will join Washington, D.C. and nine other U.S. marriage equality states.

"It's time we in the General Assembly catch up to our neighbors," said state Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), the measure's sponsor, just before debate began. "We can confidently and proudly vote for this bill today, because voters in the nation and our state understand and endorse this basic tenet of fairness and equality."

From the onset of the session, Steans tried to head off concerns that the legislation would negatively impact the freedoms of religious institutions. But colleagues repeatedly asked her whether churches would be forced to perform same-sex marriages.

A number of senators spoke on the legislation's behalf and after a lengthy floor debate the measure passed with a comfortable margin. It only needed 30 votes.

(Related: Contention and inspiration mark Illinois gay marriage vote)

Video: Senate floor debate on SB 10