Gay marriage bill passes Illinois Senate
By Benjamin Yount
Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston cast one of the 34 votes it took today to get a bill that would legalize gay marriage through the Illinois Senate on Valentine's Day.
Thirty-three Democrats and one Republican joined in the Valentine's Day vote to send the marriage measure to the Illinois House.
Chicago State Rep. Greg Harris, the House sponsor of the bill, says he does not know when the House will vote on same sex marriage, but he expects it will pass.
Republicans and some downstate Democrats argued against the proposal, not solely because of an opposition to same sex marriage but because of what they see as unanswered questions about the bill's impact on churches and religious schools or hospitals.
Biss, a co-sponsor of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, hailed the Senate’s approval of the measure.
During the debate, he said his 4-year-old son Elliot is open and accepting now.
"Unfortunately," Biss added, "Elliot may spend the next decade bombarded by signals telling him that same-sex couples aren't legitimate or entitled to equal rights. These signals will come from popular culture, from peers in school and from adults. Today the Senate took a stand and said those signals will no longer come from the State of Illinois."
Gov. Pat Quinn applauded the Senate for its vote, and said the House should act quickly. Quinn has said for months he will sign a same sex marriage law, assuming it reaches his desk.