January 4, 2013
By Jacob Combs
Consideration of Illinois’s marriage equality bill seems all but certain to be pushed to the next legislative session beginning on January 9, after a push to pass the legislation during the lame-duck session fell short this week, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Even though the bill was considered and voted out of the Senate Executive Committee by an 8-5 vote, it seems unlikely that it will be taken up even if the Senate convenes on Tuesday for the last day of the lame-duck.
Nevertheless, the bill’s chief Senate sponsor, Heather Steans, told the Sun-Times that passing marriage equality legislation is “totally a question of when we’re going to do it, not if we’re doing to do it,” adding that she’d been “assured [the Senate will] do it very early on in the next session.” Senate President John Cullerton said that he was uncertain that he would call the Senate back into session on Tuesday, adding that he believed there would be “even more support” for the marriage equality measure in the next legislative session, when Democrats will hold a super-majority.
Plans to pass Stean’s legislation fell apart yesterday due to the absence of three senators who were expected to vote yes on the measure, putting it under the 30-senator bar for passage. Sens. James Clayborne and Suzi Schmidt were each called away on family emergencies, and Sen. Jeff Schoenberg was on vacation in Israel. In a demonstration of the lengths to which advocates were willing to go to try to pass the measure, marriage equality supporters asked Schoenberg to resign and allow his successor, Rep. Daniel Biss, to be seated and vote yes, but the plan fell through.
Also yesterday, identical marriage equality bills were introduced in both chambers the Rhode Island General Assembly, with Rep. Arthur Handy the key sponsor in the House and Sen. Donna Nesselbush the main backer in the Senate. As of yesterday evening at 4:50, 42 of 75 House members had moved to co-sponsor the legislation, as did 11 of 38 senators, according to the Providence Journal.