ILLINOIS: Lame-Duck Session May See Marriage Vote Next Month
Illinois is moving fast towards marriage equality.
After counting heads and consulting with legislative leaders, the chief sponsors of a bill to permit same-sex couples to get married in the state this morning disclosed they intend to push for a vote in the General Assembly's lame-duck session, which will occur over two weeks just after New Year's. And, in an indication of how big a campaign the pro side is launching, they've hired the firm founded by top presidential adviser David Axelrod to help them with media, organization and outreach to potential supporters, including corporate officials. "We think we can get this done in January," said state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, who will be the chief Senate sponsor of the bill. With Gov. Pat Quinn saying he'd like to see a bill sooner than later, and other legislative chiefs apparently signing off, too, "the timing is right," Ms. Steans said.Lambda Legal and the ACLU are representing 25 same-sex couples who are suing Cook County for the right to marry. Those cases are being defended by anti-gay groups on behalf of several downstate county clerks. Lambda Legal today issued this statement via press release:
"By bringing the marriage bill to a vote, Rep. Harris and Sen. Steans the co-sponsors of HB 5170 have brought hope to thousands of same-sex couples across Illinois," said Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal. "Whether it's through the courts or through the legislature, Illinois same-sex couples and their children need the freedom to marry now, and it's encouraging that our elected officials agree. The time is now."Exciting!