Illinois lawmakers today passed the bill to approve gay marriage in the state, clearing the way for Illinois to become the 15th state to legalize same-sex unions.
The state senate passed the measure last Valentine’s Day, but the votes haven’t been there for the sponsor of Illinois’ gay marriage bill to even call it for a vote in the house. Until today, where it passed before clearing the senate for the second time.
The bill got 61 votes in the House, the bare minimum needed to send it to the senate, then on to Governor Quinn, who’s promised to quickly sign it.
President Obama issued a statement after the vote saying, “Tonight, I applaud the men and women of the Illinois General Assembly…As I said in my Inaugural Address last January, our journey as a nation is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
Mayor Emanuel also issued a statement saying, “Today is a critical moment in history for Illinois and for the entire LGBT movement. Finally, gays and lesbians across our state are guaranteed the fundamental right to marry, and countless couples with children will be acknowledged for what they are under the law – families just like everyone else.”
Opponents are promising an quick challenge of the new law in the courts.
During the debate in Springfield, In arguing against gay marriage, Republican Rep. Dwight Kay of Downstate Glen Carbon told fellow lawmakers the nation was built on the bedrock of Biblical scriptures before the U.S. Constitution came along.
Kay called on lawmakers to “stick by” their convictions rather than walk away for the “expediency of the moment.”
“You shouldn’t deny your own experience or your own conviction,” Kay said. “My conviction happens to be that this (gay marriage) is wrong, but my conviction is that scripture is right.”
-Chicago Tribune contributed to this report