Gay marriage in Illinois won a monumental victory during Tuesday’s election when 61 members of the House, one more than the minimum, voted to approve the bill that would make same-sex marriage legal beginning on June 1, 2014.
“At the end of the day, what this is about is love,” said Representative Greg Harris. “It’s about family. It’s about commitment.”
The bill still needs to be signed by Governor Pat Quinn before it is made official, but Quinn has already stated that he intends to sign the bill before the end of the month. Once signed, Illinois will become the 15th state to approve gay marriage.
Many proponents of the bill were unsure if the marriage proposal would gain enough support to make it onto Governor Quinn’s desk before the end of the year. The proposal failed during a January legislative session, but the Senate later passed the bill on Valentine’s Day. The bill made it through a veto session in October, but some people speculated that because candidate filings for next year’s election are only a few weeks away, some House members wouldn’t want to risk the PR hit by sticking their necks out for the bill, but 61 House members did.
Harris said the bill passed because it had support from Illinoisans all across the state.
“I think it says a lot about Illinoisans, I think it says a lot about Americans, I think it says a lot about where the country’s going,” Harris said. “You had Republicans voting for this bill, you had Democrats voting for this bill. You had folks from southern Illinois voting for this bill, from central Illinois, from the suburbs, from collar counties. You had African-Americans, you had Latinos, you had white, gay and straight.”
Others across the state say members of the Illinois Senate and House began to give gay marriage a more serious look when the United States ruled that The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. DOMA had prohibited same-sex couples that were legally married in their home state from receiving the same federal benefits that were available to heterosexual married couples. With Tuesday’s vote, same-sex partners in Illinois will soon be able to seek the same benefits endowed on their heterosexual counterparts.
Citizens across the nation lauded Illinois lawmakers for their decision, and even President Barack Obama issued an official statement.
“Michelle and I are overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois whose love will now be as legal as ours — and for their friends and family who have long wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and equally under the law.”
Sean Sullivan comments
This is certainly a historic and landmark change for the political and social climate of Illinois. Currently the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) is up for revision in the state senate. Now it may need even further revisions to include the addition of same-sex couples under its scope.
In theory, same-sex couples should now have the same rights and privileges as opposite same-sex couples under the IMDMA. Honestly, we just won’t know until a case is tried in court that involves a sex-same couple attempting to apply the IMDMA to their marriage. Stay tuned, this is a new area of family law that we are going to be watching closely!
Related source: Chicago Tribune