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Breaking: Illinois House approves marriage equality bill

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Illinois state seal

Original post (2:18 p.m. Eastern): Big news out of Illinois today, where the state House of Representatives will reportedly hold a final vote on marriage equality.  BuzzFeed has the news:

The Illinois House will take a final vote on marriage equality legislation Tuesday, a leading advocate tells BuzzFeed. Previously, sources had said a vote would not take place until Wednesday at the earliest.

“Today is the day,” said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda.

As lawmakers began Tuesday’s session, Rep. Greg Harris, the chief sponsor of the marriage equality bill in the House, amended its language to change the date the legislation would go into effect, and to seemingly reiterate exemptions for private clubs do not want to host marriages for same-sex couples.

The amendment removes lines including the 30-day effective date, which will allow Harris to pass the bill with only 60 votes instead of 71. Rules dictate that bills passed in this “veto session” like this can go into effect June 1, 2014.

According to BuzzFeed’s sources, the current vote count on the bill is somewhere around 58 or 59, and the tally today will depend on how many lawmakers are present for the final vote.  “Right now we are taking a wait and see approach and before any decisions can be made, we have to see who is here when we gavel in,” Rep. Sam Yingling, a co-sponsor of the bill told BuzzFeed. “There is a possibility that there will be absent ‘yes’ votes.”

This morning, Democratic state Rep. Jehan Gordon Booth wrote an op-ed in the Peoria Journal-Star announcing her support for the legislation.  According to BuzzFeed, House speaker Michael Madigan held a roll call by phone yesterday among the chamber’s 71 Democratic members, and has lobbied his members to support the bill.

If the House approves the bill, it will go to the more supportive Senate.  The Senate passed a slightly different version of the bill earlier this year, but no vote was held in the House.

We’ll have updates when/if the vote happens!

Update (5:07 p.m. Eastern): The Illinois House has approved marriage equality by a 61-54 vote!  The bill now goes on to the state Senate, which is expected to pass the bill with little controversy.

Update 2 (6:05 p.m. Eastern):The Illinois Senate has voted 32-21 to approve the House version of the marriage equality bill. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat and supporter of equal marriage rights, will sign the bill into law, perhaps as early as tonight.

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