In Illinois, things are heating up as a contentious and close House vote on the marriage equality bill approaches, Pantagraph reports:
Among those voicing support of the bill is Levi Sturgeon, 28, of Bloomington, who entered into a civil union with his long-time partner Carl Olson, 37. Sturgeon said both were ecstatic over the state’s legalization of civil unions, but called the arrangement “separate but equal.” He expects a contentious vote in Springfield, but hopes Democrats and Republicans can unite on the issue. In the Senate, Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, was the only Republican to vote “yes” on Senate Bill 10, the same-sex marriage law awaiting a vote on the House floor.
In related news, the Quad City Times endorsed the bill yesterday:
The party labels might be different in Illinois’ gay marriage debate, but the issue is exactly the same: A handful of lawmakers wants to use Illinois law to impose their faith choices on others. Those lawmakers are entitled — legally protected, actually — to believe whatever they like about gay people and their relationships. But using state law to forbid individuals’ life-long commitments solely on their sexual preference remains discrimination, pure and simple. Illinois law is clear: You can’t hire, fire, promote, include or exclude based on sexual preference. The question facing those reluctant Illinois lawmakers is not about their own personal beliefs on gay marriage. It is about their personal beliefs on discrimination. Which law-abiding groups do they purposely want to exclude under state law?
And again at Pantagraph, there’s a great Q&A about the marriage equality law, which goes into detail about how the new law would effect couples currently in civil unions:
Q: Would couples in civil unions be affected?
A: If they choose to be. Under the law, couples already in civil unions may receive a marriage license from their county clerk’s office. Otherwise, the civil union would remain in effect as before.
Hit the link above for more details.