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Marriage equality updates from France, Colombia and Illinois

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

The French Senate voted yesterday on the first component of a proposed bill to extend marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples, giving a significant initial stamp of approval to the section of the measure which would legalize marriage equality in France.  The marriage provision passed by a 179-157 vote.

The full bill was approved in February by the National Assembly in a vote of 329-229.  The Senate will now vote individually on the other components of the bill (similar to the amendment process in Congress) and will then hold a final vote on the measure as a whole.  Advocates of marriage equality in France have said that this first vote was the most important one to overcome, and that the bill is virtually guaranteed final approval.

In Colombia, Senate President Roy Berreras this Sunday announced that he was postponing a debate planned for next week on a proposed marriage equality bill due to protests by marriage equality activists during a forum organized by lawmakers opposed to the bill.  “I have decided to suspend the discussion of this debate until we meet with the leaders of this community LGBTI and define with them the rules for participating with full guarantees, but with deep respect for those who think differently,” Barreras said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Berreras announced that debate on the marriage bill–originally scheduled to begin April 10–will now begin next Wednesday, April 17.  In the announcement, Berreras said that leaders of the LGBT community could choose a spokesperson to represent them in the debate.  The Colombian legislature has until June 20, 2013 to afford relationship rights to same-sex couples or a court order will go into effect allowing couples to seek recognition of their unions from a notary.

Closer to home, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn told reporters on Monday that a proposed marriage equality bill is “very close” to being approved by the House.  The bill has already passed the Senate.  Quinn did not share any specific vote count, but told reporters that “we’re going to get it done.”  Two Republican representatives, Ed Sullivan Jr. and Ron Sandack, have said that will vote for the bill.

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