Illinois is poised to become the 15th state, plus D.C., to recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry after a critical vote in the state’s House of Representatives Tuesday.
The House voted 61-54 to approve the legislation, which would legalize same-sex marriage in the Land of Lincoln. The state Senate quickly voted to concur 32-21 with the altered House bill, sending it to the desk of Gov. Pat Quinn (D), who has promised to sign the bill. The law will take effect June 1, 2014.
"Today the Illinois House put our state on the right side of history," Quinn tweeted, adding, "Illinois is a place that embraces all people and today, we are an example for the nation."
The House vote came after more than two hours of debate, and months after the Senate approved similar legislation on Valentine’s Day last February.
The bill’s lead sponsor Rep. Greg Harris, an out Democrat from Chicago, urged his colleagues to side with equality. After the critical vote was cast, Harris was swarmed by his colleagues.
According to Marc Solomon, national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, the move “represents tremendous momentum, with another victory in the heartland and our sixth state victory in 2013.”
“Today the Land of Lincoln rededicated itself to the proposition that all are created equal,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Thanks to principled impatience from state leaders in Springfield, the overwhelming momentum toward nationwide marriage equality continues to intensify.”
As the bill heads to Quinn’s desk for his signature, lawmakers in Hawaii are also considering same-sex marriage legislation during a special session in that state. Hearings on the Hawaii bill continue in the state’s House after the state Senate approved the bill 20-4 last week.
[Photo: Illinois House chamber. Credit: Daniel Schwen, via Wikimedia Commons.]