Illinois, USA: Will Marriage Equality Get House Vote Today?

Written by scott on May 31st, 2013

Illinois mapToday is the final day of the Illinois legislative session. After dragging its feet for months, will the House FINALLY vote today? Pink News thinks so:

Advocates of equal marriage in the US state of Illinois were disappointed as the House adjourned on Thursday, until 09:30 on Friday, leaving only one day for a vote on a bill to legalise equal marriage, before the current session ends. Constituents who called the House to ask when the vote would take place, were reportedly told on Thursday evening, that it would go ahead on Friday, before the session ends. Advocates of equal marriage in the state are to hold an urgent rally to push the House to vote on a bill to legalise it.

A number of black caucus members have not indicated publicly how they plan to vote. LGBTQ Nation reports:

Few members of the House Black Caucus have publicly backed the measure, which would make Illinois the 13th state to allow same-sex marriage. Caucus members are being lobbied extensively by both sides. Their support is seen as key. Rep. Will Davis of Chicago, who is undecided, urged advocates to “look to the Republican side.” Chicago Rep. Emanuel Welch said Wednesday he was “leaning yes,” but would not commit to a vote until it is called.

Meanwhile, a conservative legal group, the Thomas More Society, is issuing dire warnings about the bill and religious liberties. Think Progress reports:

SB 10 provides no protections for individuals who make their living by providing goods and services for the celebration of weddings, such as cake bakers, florists, and venue owners. Under SB 10, people of faith running these businesses would be faced with the choice of either closing their business or facilitating a ceremony that violates their religious beliefs. Already, a downstate bed & breakfast owner has been dragged before the Illinois Human Rights Commission to defend its decision not to host same-sex civil unions.

And the Catholic Church is trying to mislead voters and lawmakers about the bill:

Lawmakers two years ago approved civil unions, granting participants the same legal benefits given to married couples in the state. The editorial states civil union partners are missing out on federal benefits, legal protections and tax advantages because they aren’t married. These benefits are covered by federal law – not state law. The proper venue to get these benefits is not through an Illinois marriage license, but through legislation in the U.S. Congress.

But if the US Supreme Court overturns section three of DOMA, as expected, couples who are married will have access to federal benefits. Couples in civil unions will not.

Finally, there’s a rally planned for today in Springfield. GoPride reports:

We need you to join us for an urgent rally at the State House in Springfield tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. Together, we’ll show the Speaker — and all our representatives — that we want a vote taken on the marriage equality bill before the House adjourns at the end of the day tomorrow.

Today’s the day – if it doesn’t pass today, it’s done for the session. Call your legislators!


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