Harris: ‘We'll have marriage equality in Illinois by summer'

Thu. March 28, 2013 9:27 AM by GoPride.com News Staff

state rep. greg harris (d-chicago)

photo credit // chicagopride.com file
Chicago, IL - As the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed gay marriage this week, the battle for marriage equality heated up in Illinois.

"I think we'll have marriage equality in Illinois by summer," state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) told WMAQ-TV on Wednesday.

Harris is the sponsor of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which, if passed, would make Illinois the 10th state to allow same-sex marriage.

The openly gay state lawmaker believes arguments being heard by the Supreme Court enhance the debate in Illinois.

"There's been just a monumental shift in public opinion," he said. "We're really living in a great moment of time."

Fifty-eight percent of Americans think gay marriage should be legal, according to recent poll results released by Washington Post-ABC News. According to a Crain's/Ipsos poll released last month, 50 percent of Illinoisans support gay marriage and 20 percent are opposed.

"The majority of Illinoisans want this, and the legislators know their constituents want it," Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov told ChicagoPride.com March 14.

Sixty votes are needed for passage. Harris has refused to publicly announce when a full House vote might take place. He told Chicago Sun-Times March 4, "When I call this for a vote, it will pass."

The legislation passed the House Executive Committee in a narrow 6-5 vote Feb. 26, and the full state Senate Feb. 14. A full House vote is the final hurdle before the measure reaches Gov. Pat Quinn. The bill will not face a vote in the House until after lawmakers return from spring break on April 8.

Marriage equality advocates continue to encourage supporters to contact their representatives.

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