Illinois Gov. Quinn: 'It's time to vote'

Fri. May 10, 2013 2:27 PM by News Staff

Chicago, IL - With Minnesota lawmakers poised to pass marriage equality early next week, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn spoke about the state's pending marriage equality bill, "I think, you know, it's time to vote."

The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act 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 reachers the Governor.

Quinn has been meeting with lawmakers and thinks the votes are there to send the measure to his desk.

"I believe a majority exists to get this bill passed through the House onto my desk so I can sign it into law," Quinn told reporters on Thursday, according to Chicago Sun-Times.

Sixty votes are needed for passage. Recently frustration has grown among marriage rights supporters as the measure has failed to find full support in the House, which maintains a Democratic majority.

"It is time to get the lead out," said Rick Garcia, Director of the Equal Marriage Illinois Project and Policy Director for The Civil Rights Agenda. "Illinois only has three more weeks of our legislative session to pass marriage equality."

A vote must take place before May 31, when the House adjourns. In that case, a vote is not likely until the fall session.

"Given historic record levels of support for marriage, the lawmakers have a mandate to pass the bill," Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov told "And if they don't, then they're electing families be harmed. And there'll be a lot of anger not only in the LGBT community and with the donors, but among Illinoisans at large."

Sponsors have had to carefully weigh when to call the vote as numbers have fluctuated.

"More and more Americans support the freedom to marry for all couples. The public's evolution on this issue has been remarkable," said Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), the bill's chief sponsor. Harris has long refused to publicly announce when it might take place. He told the Chicago Sun-Times March 4, "When I call this for a vote, it will pass."