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Quinn Calls On Illinois House To Pass Same-Sex Marriage Bill

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 10, 2013 1:30PM

The current session of the Illinois General Assembly is coming to a close and Gov. Pat Quinn called on the House Thursday to pass SB 10, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, before the spring recess. Marriage equality lobbyists and supporters have been waiting for the House to pass the bill since the state Senate approved it in a symbolic Valentine’s Day vote.

But support for the bill in the House hasn’t been as strong. House speaker Michael Madigan said in March SB 10 was 12 votes shy of passage. Rep. Greg Harris, the bill’s sponsor in the House, told ABC 7 his roll call of supporters is near the 60 votes required to pass the bill. But opponents of the bill, including Chicago Cardinal Francis George and African-American churches, have marshaled their resources and applied pressure to state representatives, in particular black lawmakers who don’t want to be seen as alienating their constituencies if they vote in favor of the bill.

Quinn, who said he would sign the bill into law once it’s passed and believes the support is there for passage, urged the House to get off its collective ass and do something.

“It's time to vote,” Quinn said Thursday. “Illinois passing marriage equality into law, I think, sends a great signal to the people of our state and the people of America. So it's important to Illinois (that) the House of Representatives get going.”

Quinn has met with lawmakers opposed to the bill or on the fence in the past week in an attempt to get them to change their votes.

Harris told the Tribune he doesn’t know when the bill is expected to come to a vote and noted the General Assembly was focused on pension reform, but believes the wave of support for marriage equality across the country should carry Illinois with it.

“In the last couple months we have seen the voters of three different states vote for marriage equality at the ballot box and in the last week we saw two other states, and probably a third today, where the legislature said that treating people equally is the right American thing to do,” Harris said. “Now the eyes of the country are on Illinois to see if we are going to do the right thing.”