The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Getting Hitched? Deb Mell Pushes Gay Marriage Issue In Illinois

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Apr 28, 2010 2:00PM

The issue of gay marriage will come to the forefront of Illinois politics for a brief period today as State Rep. Deborah Mell plans to address the state legislature about her engagement to her long-time partner, Christin Baker. The pair got engaged on April 10 but won't be getting married in Illinois. That's because there are no laws allowing gay marriage - or even civil unions - in Illinois. Instead, Mell and Baker plan to go to Iowa to be wed, but not before Mell brings up the issue to fellow lawmakers. Mell hopes to light a new spark in the battle for equal rights. Both the Equal Marriage Act (Senate Bill 2468) and The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (House Bill 2234) remain mired in committee and likely won't see passage any time soon. Talking to Carol Marin on Chicago Tonight, Mell expressed her consternation.

“I have to go to Iowa,” Mell said Tuesday, “a great state, but not where I grew up, not where my friends and family are.”

What will she tell her colleagues?

“That you can’t legislate who you love and can’t punish people for it,” she said. “That we are a regular couple, pay taxes, own a home, have a great belief in God.”

Unfortunately, it's unlikely much will happen any time soon to help Mell and Baker and other gay couples hoping for a new gay marriage or civil unions law. Both candidates for Governor - Quinn and Brady - are opposed to gay marriage and HB 2234, of which Mell is a co-sponsor, has seem some advancement but has been mired without much movement for almost a year now. In January of this year, LGBT activists tried to get the ball rolling again on the civil unions bill, but haven't had any luck yet. A frustrated Baker told Marin, "We're not to be feared. There's nothing scary about allowing us to have the same rights as everyone else."