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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 22, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 12
Illinois marriage bill still short of votes
Section One
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Illinois marriage bill still short of votes

While lawmakers dither, activists turn up the heat

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The marriage equality bill that passed the Illinois Senate on Valentine's Day is still short of votes in the state House of Representatives, but President Obama's Organizing for Action group is urging voters to lobby their lawmakers to pass the measure.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn supports the bill and has promised he will sign it if and when the House passes it.

According to Chicago Pride, the measure's sponsors 'remain tight-lipped as to when the legislation will come up for a vote,' but some sources say it may not be until legislators return from their spring break on April 8.

'If it is this week I would be surprised,' Lambda Legal regional director Jim Bennett said. 'But it still could happen - I certainly hope it does.'

Lambda Legal has joined with the ACLU and Equality Illinois in a coalition called Illinois Unites for Marriage to help pass the measure.

REASONS FOR OPTIMISM
Bennett said he remains optimistic about the legislation's chances for passage.

'Last week we met with some Republican legislators who had asked to meet with some of the families speaking on the bill's behalf,' he said. 'It was surprising to have someone reach out like that when we were not really counting on their support.

'If most of the Republicans were voting their own personal beliefs, this would pass overwhelmingly,' Bennett added. Illinois Republican chair Pat Brady has endorsed the legislation and reportedly called Republican senators to lobby for it.

E-MAIL BLAST
Organizing for Action, the post-election incarnation of Obama for America - the President's campaign organization - sent e-mails to its Illinois supporters urging them to call their legislators and lobby for marriage equality.

'Right now, reports say the bill is short of the votes it needs to pass, so these calls matter,' the e-mail said. 'Take two minutes and look up your state representative right now - then give them a call to let them know that you want them to vote YES on the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.'

If and when the measure passes, Illinois will be the 10th state to authorize same-sex marriages. The bill includes exemptions for religious institutions that object to Gay and Lesbian marriages.

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BREAKING NEWS
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We're not broken - don't 'fix' us!
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