December 14, 2012
By Jacob Combs
The chief sponsors of a bill to bring marriage equality to Illinois plan to push for a vote in the lame-duck session, the Chicago Tribune reports:
“Gay marriage supporters said today they have moved to ‘within striking distance’ of collecting enough votes to pass a bill in early January.
“Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Greg Harris unveiled plans to take up the measure in the closing days of the current General Assembly before a new set of lawmakers are sworn in Jan. 9.
“The legislation would allow same-sex marriage and protect the right of religious institutions to either consecrate or not consecrate such weddings, but church leaders from a variety of faiths have rallied staunch opposition.”
Greg Hinz, writing for Crain’s Chicago Business, reports that both state Senator Heather Steans, the bill’s chief sponsor in that chamber, and Rep. Greg Harris, the bill’s chief House sponsor, told reporters on a conference call that “the timing is right” to get the bill passed in January. Some lawmakers in the Illinois legislature, Rep. Harris said on the call, are rethinking their opposition to the law in light of marriage equality victories in three states during the November elections.
The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that Gov. Pat Quinn hopes the bill will come to his desk in January, saying, “It’s the House that probably the key arena at this time, and I think we’ll see how the members look at that issue. They should study it carefully and vote their conscience.”
As Hinz points out, one sign marriage equality advocates are taking the move seriously can be found in a big PR move they’ve made, tapping a firm founded by David Axelrod, a chief Obama strategist, to assist with voter and community outreach.
Steans and Harris will need to collect 60 House votes and 30 Senate votes before new the legislature’s new members are sworn in on January 9. The two hope that bringing up the bill in the lame-duck session will allow outgoing lawmakers to cast votes without fear of reelection reprisals. If passed, the law would take effect in the summer of 2013.