State Rep. Harris ‘prepared to put it all on the line' in final push for marriage bill

Fri. March 1, 2013 1:18 PM by News Staff

state rep. greg harris (d-chicago)

photo credit // file
Springfield, IL - Illinois Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), the sponsor of a marriage equality bill in the Illinois House, said he is "prepared to put it all on the line."

In an open letter sent to the bill's supporters on Thursday, Harris said the vote on Senate Bill 10 could happen any day now. The measure passed out of the House Executive Committee on Tuesday.

"In the final days of this campaign, it's critical that we keep up the pressure until this bill passes. As the House sponsor of the bill, I'm prepared to put it all on the line until we pass SB10 in the House," Harris wrote in the letter.

"I'm sure I don't have to tell you that this bill is about a lot more than politics and legislation," said Harris. "It's personal -- for me and the countless gay and lesbian citizens of Illinois who are waiting for our state to extend the protections and respect all families deserve."

The letter was part of an ongoing campaign from the Illinois Unites for Marriage coalition formed by Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal and ACLU of Illinois to push for passage of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.

Harris's message is being backed by the efforts of the coalition.

On Wednesday, Equality Illinois delivered about 10,000 postcards to the offices of House members in Springfield representing every legislative district in the state. The group continues to staff over 70 phone banks reaching thousands of Illinoisans.

"The commitment and energy of our volunteers is amazing. We can only succeed if people step up to contact their House members and volunteer for this campaign," said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois.

The measure awaits a full House vote, which is the final hurdle before it reaches Gov. Pat Quinn's desk to be signed into law. 

Democrats hold a large majority in the House, but not all Democrats support marriage equality. Harris remains confident the measure will receive the necessary 60 votes when called for a floor vote. No date has been set yet. 

If approved, Illinois would become the tenth state to legalize same-sex marriage.