Illinois House hearing set on gay marriage

Wed. February 20, 2013 7:50 PM by News Staff

senate vote on gay marriage bill, feb. 14

Springfield, IL - The momentum continues on a bill to legalize gay marriage in Illinois with a House Executive Committee hearing scheduled for Feb. 26.

"The momentum is on the side of the freedom to marry. And lawmakers realize that a clear majority of Illinoisans want the Representatives to vote in favor of the marriage bill, Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov told "After searching their conscience, lawmakers should ask themselves how their vote will be remembered by their children, grandchildren, and constituents - not just tomorrow but also two or five years from now."

The Illinois Senate approved the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act by a vote of 34-21 on Valentine's Day.

"The Senate vote sent a strong message that the majority of Illinoisans want to treat everyone equally in the eyes of the law, and to protect the right of our various faiths to consecrate or not consecrate marriages as they choose," said state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), the House sponsor of the bill. "The debate also made clear that there are still many in our State who want to fight equality and fairness, so it is important those of who do continue to make our voices heard."

If the measure passes the committee it will advance to a full vote by the House where opposition is expected to be more formidable. But Gov. Pat Quinn has said that he would sign the bill into law, and urged its passage in his State of the State address.

"Marriage equality is coming to Illinois," Quinn said Feb. 6.

Cherkasov said that coalition members will use this week to build support in the House. A date has not been set for a full House vote yet.

A poll released Tuesday by Crain's Chicago Business showed a growing number of Illinoisans supporting marriage equality, with 50 percent in favor and only 29 percent opposed to the bill.

If approved, Illinois would become the 10th state to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.

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Related: Contention and inspiration mark Illinois gay marriage vote.