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Marriage equality bills to be filed in Illinois legislature today

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

Supporters of equal marriage rights in the Illinois legislature will file marriage equality bills in both the Senate and House today during the new legislature’s first day of business, Illinois United for Marriage announced last night.  Senator Heather Steans and Representative Greg Harris, the chief sponsors of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, plan to push for passage of the bill in the session’s early weeks.

“We are one step closer to equality in the Land of Lincoln,” Representative Harris said, according to an Illinois United press release. “The bills we filed today will treat all couples equally under the law. We are going full steam ahead on this.”  For her part, Senator Steans said that she is “confident legislators will grant all Illinois couples the freedom to marry this year.”

Steans, Harris and other equal marriage advocates in Illinois had hoped to pass a marriage equality bill during the lame-duck session that ended yesterday, but were thwarted by the absence of several Democratic senators due to family emergencies and vacation.  The bill did pass out of the Senate Executive Committee by an 8-5 vote, but was not considered by the full chamber.

In somewhat related news, Washington National Cathedral has announced that it will begin hosting weddings for same-sex couples, a move that is not completely surprising due to the Episcopal Church’s support for marriage equality but nevertheless carries important symbolic significance.  The church’s dean, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, said the following in an interview with the AP:

“[P]erforming same-sex marriages is an opportunity to break down barriers and build a more inclusive community ‘that reflects the diversity of God’s world.

‘I read the Bible as seriously as fundamentalists do. And my reading of the Bible leads me to want to do this because I think it’s being faithful to the kind of community that Jesus would have us be.

‘As a kind of tall-steeple, public church in the nation’s capital, by saying we’re going to bless same-sex marriages, conduct same-sex marriages, we are really trying to take the next step for marriage equality in the nation and in the culture.

‘For us to be able to say we embrace same-sex marriage as a tool for faithful people to live their lives as Christian people, for us to be able to say that at a moment when so many other barriers toward full equality and full inclusion for gay and lesbian people are falling, I think it is an important symbolic moment.'”


  • 1. Seth From Maryland  |  January 9, 2013 at 8:50 am

    back on track

  • 2. Straight Dave  |  January 9, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Wow, they didn't even skip a day! Looks serious to me. Hopefully the extra 10 Dems in the senate are enough to carry this through now.

  • 3. Seth From Maryland  |  January 9, 2013 at 9:18 am

    its seems to me they now have the votes

  • 4. Stefan  |  January 9, 2013 at 10:17 am

    It's actually 5 in the Senate and 7 in the House, however I know on Chicago Dem. who was opposed was just replaced by a supportive one.

  • 5. Bob  |  January 9, 2013 at 11:00 am

    woot woot!!!!

  • 6. Anthony  |  January 9, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Just legalize it and get it over with…

  • 7. Straight Dave  |  January 9, 2013 at 11:48 am

    You're are correct, though I was doing different math.
    The senate moved +5 Dems and -5 Reps for a net swing of 10. Their previous margin was +11, now it is +21 (40/19). Oughta be sufficient in any case.

  • 8. Brandon Brock  |  January 9, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    This takes me back to the days I organized for the New York State marriage push in 2009 and 2011. It's like a mirror (but let's hope IL's first attempt is successful unlike NY's failed 2009 attempt).

  • 9. Reformed  |  January 9, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    It didnt work in the lame duck session because a few members had issues that prevented them from being present . . . right? Was it a death in the family? NOM is trying to raise funds off of their "victory". What exactly did they do? Maybe there should be an inquest . . . deaths in families and all . . . What am I missing here?

  • 10. Stefan  |  January 9, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    One death, one family emergency, and one being out of the country. NOM is getting that desperate indeed.

  • 11. Straight Ally #3008  |  January 10, 2013 at 6:06 am

    Love how they took credit for unforeseen circumstances. They are good at spinning, but you have to be when your arguments are baseless.

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