Valentine’s Day good news HERE:
Illinois moved closer today to becoming the 10th state in the nation where same-sex couples can legally wed, after the Senate voted to lift a ban on gay marriage.
Senators voted 34-21 to approve the measure, sending it on to the state House where Democrats also hold a majority. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, has said he will sign the bill if the House approves it.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, called it “a vote for the history books.”
“We have the opportunity today to welcome all families in Illinois as equally valued,” she said.
Before approving the measure, the Senate attached an amendment today that explicitly states no church or other religious organization will be forced to solemnize same-sex marriages. It also says churches cannot be sued if they don’t allow their parishes to be used for same-sex marriage ceremonies.
The issue has caused internal conflict among Republicans as the party works balance its efforts to appeal more to younger voters, minorities and women with the more socially conservative positions of some members.
After Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady announced his support for gay marriage during the lame-duck legislative session, saying it was a civil rights issue, some Republicans called for his ouster. Opponents of gay marriage pledged to fund primary challenges to any Republican who voted in favor of the bill.
Today’s vote came two years after Illinois lawmakers approved civil unions, which provide legal recognition of a partnership between two people, regardless of gender. But gay marriage supporters said it wasn’t enough.