Illinois the 15th state to approve Marriage Equality

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Wow, that was fast! The Illinois House today passed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, making Illinois the 15th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed. Gay marriage bill passes in Illinois House:

EqualDefying Bible-quoting critics,
the Illinois House narrowly approved legislation to make Illinois the
15th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed, clearing the way for
quick and likely approval by the state Senate and Gov. Pat Quinn.

The measure passed 61 to 54, with two voting present.

When the historic roll call on
the bill was finalized, cheers from the crowded House galleries erupted
and its main sponsor, state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), was swarmed
by fellow House members who supported his cause.

“This bill will give them a better future,” Harris said in a steady
voice, referring to same-sex couples across the state. “It’ll help
families to show their love and commitment to each other and give all
families a chance to live as full and equal citizens in the greatest
country on the face of the earth.”

House Speaker Michael J.
Madigan was one of the final speakers in the debate, giving the bill his
blessing, pledging to vote yes and quoting Pope Francis’ famed “Who am I
to judge remark.”

Signalling his evolution on
the issue, the powerful Southwest Side Democrat invited supporters of
same-sex marriage to witness the historic vote from his box in the House
gallery.

 

Because Harris changed the
bill’s effective date on Tuesday to June 1
, the measure needed only 60
votes – instead of 71 – to pass the House. It now must go back to the
Senate for a final sign-off before moving on to the governor
, who
praised lawmakers for breaking the impasse on an issue that was near the
top of his legislative priority list.

Administration sources
predicted the governor, once the bill arrives on his desk, would hold a
bill-signing ceremony within the next week or two.

Harris also amended his legislation to give greater safeguards to
private clubs, so they don’t have to sanction same-sex marriages. That
was recognized as a nod to Catholic lawmakers concerned that
organizations like the Knights of Columbus would be compelled to open
their facilities to same-sex wedding receptions.

Marriage Equality begins June 1, 2014 in Illinois.

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