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Updated: IL marriage vote delayed, MN state senator promises marriage equality vote in the spring

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

Via the AP:

Illinois Senate Democrats are delaying a vote on a plan that would make the state the 10th in the nation to legalize gay marriage.

A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton tells The Associated Press the proposal to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples will get a committee hearing Thursday but there aren’t currently enough votes to pass it on the floor.

Spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon […] says she doesn’t know how many votes there are for the plan or when it might be called. Some Democrats were not in attendance Thursday. Phelon says no Republicans supported it.

Cullerton’s Democrats have 35 seats in the Senate – five more votes than needed for passage.

The Chicago Phoenix reports that the bill will still be considered today by the Senate Executive Committee in an attempt to allow a full chamber vote next week. The delay comes as two pro-marriage equality senators, Suzi Schmidt and James Clayborne, had to leave Springfield due to family emergencies. Another possible supporter, Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, is on vacation.

Despite the setbacks, supporters say that there is still a possibility for the bill to be considered before the lame-duck session ends on January 8. However, as the Windy City Times reports:

“The repeated delays have dampened enthusiasm in Springfield, with questions being raised about whether or not the bill will come to a vote this session at all. The House is seen as a greater hurdle than the Senate, and repeated hiccups in the Senate have raised concerns about support for the measure.”

In related news, the AP also reported yesterday that Minnesota state Senator Scott Dibble still plans to bring marriage equality up for a vote this year, although he thinks that it will be a month or two before the measure is introduced.

Update (5:30 p.m. Eastern): Testimony is being heard by the Senate Executive Committee now. A livestream of proceedings can be found here.

Updated 2 (6:30 p.m.): The marriage equality bill has passed out of the Senate Executive Committee on and 8-5 vote and now moves to a full vote in the chamber.


  • 1. Stefan  |  January 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    We had similar up/down news updates before New York passed it remember.

    Worst comes to worst, it doesn't pass now and we wait until the new supermajority legislatures arrive and then it easily passes.

  • 2. Mike in Baltimore  |  January 3, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Just a few words of warning –

    In Maryland, the marriage equality law passed the state Assembly twice, then failed in the Senate. Then it was first introduced in the Senate, then failed in the Assembly. Finally, on the fourth try, it passed the Senate, then Assembly.

    Advantages that Illinois has that Maryland didn't –

    The Governor has come out full force for passage before the fourth try;
    The PUTUS has come out full force for passage before the fourth try.
    Illinois has the example of NY and Maryland passing marriage equality.

    In Illinois, the Senate President is in favor of marriage equality. In Maryland, the Senate President voted against the bill (and I presume against marriage equality in the November General Election).

    Disadvantages that Illinois has that Maryland didn't –

    The bill has been introduced in a Special Session, with an extremely limited time frame. In Maryland, it was passed rather quickly, but the bill still wasn't signed into law until about six weeks had elapsed from the session beginning.

    Since at least 2006, Maryland has had a super-majority (meaning MORE than 67%) of Democrats in both the Assembly and Senate, and still couldn't get passage until the fourth try in 2012, and then only when the Governor applied pressure. So even a super-majority of membership doesn't mean automatic passage of a bill. But with the Governor AND POTUS AND Senate President AND Speaker in the Illinois House supporting it, the chances for passage are much greater.

    One thing Illinois needs to watch out for is anyone who says they support the measure (even co-sponsor it), then back out of support, as happened in Maryland. The excuse given by one Assembly member was that pressure from constituents and the Assembly member's church caused her to change her mind, even though she was a co-sponsor in 2011.

    My hope is that Illinois passes this measure in the Special Session. I think, though, that it will not pass until the regular session, and then more time can be used to fortify the prospects of passage.

  • 3. Sagesse  |  January 4, 2013 at 1:30 am

    The other thing that Illinois (and Rhode Island) have going for them is Nov 6 in Maine, Washington, Maryland and Minnesota. The political risks in a state like Illinois or Rhode Island in 2013 are not the same as they were in 2012 in New York and Maryland.

    It is so encouraging that legislators would think 'Hey, let's get this over with and off the table quickly, if we can, and get on with the business of governing'.

  • 4. Sagesse  |  January 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    It just passed in the senate committee 8 – 5 and will go to the senate floor.

  • 5. Gregory in SLC  |  January 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    what!? Illinois???? Minnesota? Anyone have an update for Rhode Island?

  • 6. Sagesse  |  January 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Illinois… I was watching the live feed.

  • 7. Gregory in SLC  |  January 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm


  • 8. Alynn  |  January 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Is the live feed broken?

  • 9. Sagesse  |  January 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    The link is in Update 1 above, but they've moved on to other things.

  • 10. Luke  |  January 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    8 to 5, the bill moves to the full senate floor in Illinois.

  • 11. Gregory in SLC  |  January 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm


  • 12. Gregory in SLC  |  January 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    p.s. – will someone please spank Boehner? doh!

  • 13. Bob  |  January 3, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    I;m with you Gregory,,, you get the paddle and I'll bend him over

  • 14. Randall Reynolds  |  January 3, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Hooray! Equality continues to snowball.

  • 15. Martin  |  January 3, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Hi to everyone! I'm writting from Argentina, so I apoligize for my horrible English grammar heh!

    When will this bill be voted by the full Senate Chamber?

    Congratulations to Illinois and cheers from here! Good luck!

  • 16. Deeelaaach  |  January 3, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Martin, (off topic): From a native speaker – I can't find anything wrong with your grammar. I only wish I spoke a foreign language.

  • 17. Mimi  |  January 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    So does this mean there will be a vote in the senate floor on Sunday? If so, what happens if it passes? Does it become law or is there another stage the bill must go through?

  • 18. Martin  |  January 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Hi Mimi… As far as I know, if the bill gets approval by the full Senate, then goes to a House commitee and, if is then approved, goes to the full House.

    We're running out of timeeee

  • 19. Sagesse  |  January 3, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    From the debate in committee before the vote, it sounds as though there will be amendments proposed to the religious freedom language before the full senate votes… no idea whether they would pass or not. Then, if it passes in the senate, the house would vote. Not sure what problems there might be in the house, but I've read that if the senate approves it, the house may fall into line.

  • 20. Martin  |  January 3, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Hi Sagesse… Thakns for your explanation.
    Onel last question: When will the full Senate vote the bill ?

  • 21. Sagesse  |  January 3, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Not sure. I expect the local Illinois media will report the scheduling… but the timing of vote will depend on any amendment and/ or debate process also.

  • 22. Anthony  |  January 3, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Did anyone not happen to notice that the Supreme Court created a section just for the Prop 8 and DOMA cases? It's on the home page, toward the bottom of their site. Glad to know they realize this affects A LOT of people.

  • 23. Martin  |  January 3, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Ok. Thank you very much! ….Honestly, I'm running out of hope. We hace to see if the full Senate meets tomorrow or not, and / or if they meet on Saturday.
    As I said before, I am from Argentina, so I don't know where to get some news, but I'm reading Chicago Star Tribune.
    Thanks and good luck !

  • 24. JordanJorhAn  |  January 3, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    The LGBT coalition in Illinois needs to be actively on this. The religious base is joining forces at a quicker pace and the LGBT organizations need to work tirelessly in the next few days (I'm talking 24/7) to hope to educate and create clarification sending the message that this bill not only does not effect religious institutions (which would make their argument moot) but enhances the lives of many a tax paying, model citizens in Illinois. It's all about message, delivery and actively spreading it in the next few days!

  • 25. Duration & Convexity  |  January 3, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    This bill went out of it's way to protect religious organizations, it has the term religious freedom coined in it's name, it serves to give equal access to all residents, it has the approval of a majority of the state, and yet some Democrats are voting against our equality?I don't have much hope & expectation from Republicans, but Democrats? You've received a multitude of resources, support, campaigning, money, encouragement and voters from LGBT throughout the years. You have no reason to tell us to stand in the back of the line, while you are comforted in knowing you have our votes locked in every election. And maybe that's the issue at heart here. SOME Democrats are a little too comfortable knowing that the LGBT block is in the bag for them. Maybe our many alliances and leaders should convey the message that our support is not without condition. That while the pillars of the Democratic Party have heavily been in our favor; no member of it should be responsible for stalling, delaying or rejecting an act that would treat LGBT citizens as full human beings.

  • 26. Bob  |  January 3, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    well said,,, and that's exactly what President Obama did,,, to prod them along,, and encourage support fro equality

  • 27. Seth From Maryland  |  January 3, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Sen. Heather Steans said the Senate floor vote could come Tuesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. [See update below.] Rick Garcia, the director of the Equal Marriage Illinois Project and senior policy advisor to The Civil Rights Agenda, urged the full Senate to act on the bill:

  • 28. Seth From Maryland  |  January 3, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    UPDATE: Despite the committee vote, the bill has been pushed from the lame-duck session to the next general assembly, which begins next week

  • 29. Seth From Maryland  |  January 3, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    From the Windy City Times:

    With the limited time remaining in the lame duck session, advocates said Thursday night that there isn't enough time to pass the full Illinois marriage equality bill in the lame duck session, so they will focus instead on work in the next general assembly, which begins Jan. 9. …

    "Today, a few key Senators could not be here for family reasons. What's important when we reconvene is that we work to protect and strengthen all Illinois families, and that's what this legislation does," Democratic Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago said in a statement issued to the media. "I'm confident we can advance this bill in the coming weeks."

  • 30. Stefan  |  January 3, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    That was before it passed out of committee. The senate can (and probably will) call a special session on the 8th the day before the new session begins to pass the bill.

  • 31. Seth From Maryland  |  January 3, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    ohh ok thanks i really cant keep with all this because its moving so fast

  • 32. Sagesse  |  January 4, 2013 at 1:35 am

    But Stephan, they have to fit a house vote in there before Jan 9 also?

  • 33. Bob  |  January 3, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    thanks for the update Seth,,,, from Canada, and hi to Martin from Argentina,,,,, waiting and watching,, the march to equality,,,

  • 34. F Young  |  January 4, 2013 at 3:28 am

    In other news:

    Israel MP performs gay marriages to protest claims they'd destroy the Jewish people

  • 35. Pat  |  January 4, 2013 at 5:58 am

    I am also wondering: if they manage to have a full Senate vote in this lame-duck session, do they also have to fit the house vote right then? or the new House could vote on a bill approved by the earlier senate legislature?

  • 36. Sammy  |  January 4, 2013 at 6:17 am

    Has to start all over when new session starts unfortunately…

  • 37. Pat  |  January 4, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Hem, ok so I guess it doesnt seem very realistic, does it? They'd have to do the full Senate vote on Tuesday and the House vote on the very same day?

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