Illinois marriage equality bill cleared for consideration next week

Fri. May 24, 2013 5:19 PM by News Staff

Marriage advocates expect action next week on marriage equality bill

Springfield, IL - In a procedural action, the Illinois House deadline for Senate Bill 10, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, was granted a one week extension on Friday.

The deadline for House consideration of bills sent over from the Senate, including the freedom to marry legislation, was May 24. The extension allows the bill to be considered through May 31, the scheduled adjournment of the spring session of the General Assembly.

"There's exactly one week left in the legislative session. And let me make one thing clear: in the next seven days, we can -- and we will -- secure the freedom to marry," state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), the bill's chief sponsor, said in a statement released Friday by Illinois Unites for Marriage.

Sponsors and advocates have been reluctant to call a vote until they've been assured of at least 60 votes in the House—and now they say those votes are in place.

"The votes are, indeed, there," Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, told earlier this week. "And I believe the bill is going to pass, but we've received no indication yet on when the bill would be called."

Steve Brown, a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, said that the final decision on when the bill comes up for a vote is in the hands Harris.

"When it goes up on the board, it will go up with the necessary number of votes," Harris told last week.

Marriage advocates expect action on the bill next week.

A full House vote is the final hurdle for the legislation, which passed the House Executive Committee in a narrow 6-5 vote Feb. 26, and the full state Senate Feb. 14. Should it pass the House, the bill's eventual passage is all but guaranteed—Gov. Quinn has said he will sign it into law.

The new law would take effect 30 days after signing.

Matt Simonette contributed to this report.

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