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Marriage Equality Bill Passes House Committee

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 27, 2013 3:20PM

Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist

Senate Bill 10 (The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act) passed the Illinois House Executive Committee by a 6-5 vote Tuesday night, setting the stage for a full vote on the House floor, possibly within the next week. But it may take longer.

The vote foreshadows a tough debate on the House floor. Although LGBT groups are optimistic about the bill’s passage, Gov. Pat Quinn conceded the necessary 60 votes to pass the legislation aren’t there yet. Speaking at a stop in Normal last week, Quinn told reporters he plans to personally reach out to House members to rally their support for the bill.

One of the obstacles facing the bill’s passage in the House is the freshmen members of the current class tend to lean conservative, in both parties.

Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, said she thinks legalizing same-sex marriage is premature. “We’ve had civil unions, and it hasn’t even been two years,” Scherer said. “The purpose of the civil union was to give people in this situation the rights they felt they deserved. I think that needs to have time to go through the system before we go further.”

State Rep. Greg Harris (D - Chicago), the bill’s chief sponsor in the House, wouldn’t confirm when the bill would come up for a vote, but restated there was enough support to pass it.