State Rep. LaShawn Ford endorses Illinois marriage equality bill

Wed. May 29, 2013 10:34 AM by News Staff

state rep. lashawn ford

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Springfield, IL - Illinois Representative LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) said Tuesday he is adding his support to a bill that would make Illinois the 13th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Ford, who was previously undecided, said "it is like the time has come" for gay marriage to be legal.

"When you think about the moral issue, this is about advancing opportunity, the opportunity for all people to pursue life, liberty and happiness. As Democrats we are about opportunity, about including people, not excluding," Ford told Oak Park Journal.

Ford is one of twenty members of the state House's Black Caucus, which has been heavily lobbied by a group of socially conservative African-American ministers led by the Rev. James Meeks. Ford's support of SB10, or the Religious Freedom and Marriage Act, bolsters its chances for passage this week.

Ford, who represents Oak Park and part of Chicago's West Side, said a portion of his support is out of respect for state Rep. Greg Harris, the bill's chief sponsor.

"He has always supported issues important to the neighborhoods I represent," said Ford.

The bill passed the Senate Feb. 14 and has the support of Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, leaving a vote in the House as the final obstacle before becoming law. But with only 3 days left in the spring session, supporters say time is running out.

Harris told Windy City Times last week he will "absolutely" call the bill to a vote before the session's end.

Related: Vote on Illinois marriage equality going down to the wire

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