This year’s Valentine’s Day will be a day full of sweets and flowers. It will be one that is especially sweet for gay and lesbian couples in Illinois. The Illinois legislature will be voting on a bill that would allow marriage for same-sex couples. It will be the tenth state in the nation to do so.
Several LGBT rights groups, businesses and even religious organizations have all stated that they support a legal union between couples of the same sex. Polls in Illinois also show strong support for same-sex marriage. But are all of the elements there to get it passed in the state legislature? It appears so. There was a bit of a test run earlier this year when State Senator Heather Stearns tried to get the bill passed in the lame duck session. The bill made it out of the Senate Executive Committee, but time ran out before any further action could be taken.
This time around, it was full steam ahead. The bill was filed on January 9th, the first day of the new legislative session. By February 5th, it passed out of the Senate Committee it was assigned to, and it was scheduled for a second reading. (Once a bill is passed out of committee and given a second reading, it has a very good chance of coming up for a full vote.) Since then, a few more sponsors have been added, and it’s now scheduled for a third reading.
In the meantime, gay rights and human rights advocates have been promoting the bill. This includes Illinois Unites for Marriage, Equality Illinois, ACLU of Illinois, Lambda Legal, Freedom to Marry, and Human Rights Campaign. Even Illinois’ Governor, Pat Quinn showed his support. He was a speaker at the recent Equality Illinois Gala.
While there is some opposition to the change by some in the GOP, the vast majority concedes that the bill will pass. Instead of openly opposing it, they are supporting the move so that it passes quickly. The realize that the Democratic super majority prevents them from doing anything about it. So it appears that nothing will prevent cupid’s arrow from making Valentines’ Day a happy one for Illinois’ same sex couples. After all, love does not discriminate – why should the law?