January 3, 2013
By Jacob Combs
Via the AP:
Illinois Senate Democrats are delaying a vote on a plan that would make the state the 10th in the nation to legalize gay marriage.
A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton tells The Associated Press the proposal to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples will get a committee hearing Thursday but there aren’t currently enough votes to pass it on the floor.
Spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon [...] says she doesn’t know how many votes there are for the plan or when it might be called. Some Democrats were not in attendance Thursday. Phelon says no Republicans supported it.
Cullerton’s Democrats have 35 seats in the Senate – five more votes than needed for passage.
The Chicago Phoenix reports that the bill will still be considered today by the Senate Executive Committee in an attempt to allow a full chamber vote next week. The delay comes as two pro-marriage equality senators, Suzi Schmidt and James Clayborne, had to leave Springfield due to family emergencies. Another possible supporter, Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, is on vacation.
Despite the setbacks, supporters say that there is still a possibility for the bill to be considered before the lame-duck session ends on January 8. However, as the Windy City Times reports:
“The repeated delays have dampened enthusiasm in Springfield, with questions being raised about whether or not the bill will come to a vote this session at all. The House is seen as a greater hurdle than the Senate, and repeated hiccups in the Senate have raised concerns about support for the measure.”
In related news, the AP also reported yesterday that Minnesota state Senator Scott Dibble still plans to bring marriage equality up for a vote this year, although he thinks that it will be a month or two before the measure is introduced.
Update (5:30 p.m. Eastern): Testimony is being heard by the Senate Executive Committee now. A livestream of proceedings can be found here.
Updated 2 (6:30 p.m.): The marriage equality bill has passed out of the Senate Executive Committee on and 8-5 vote and now moves to a full vote in the chamber.