Illinois is poised to become the fifteenth state to allow same-sex marriage after legislation passed both houses of the state’s General Assembly on Tuesday, according to CNN.com. Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the SB10. The law will take effect on June 1, 2014.
Until now, Illinois only allowed civil unions between couples of the same sex. Other states that legally recognize same-sex marriage are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia. Civil unions are legal in Colorado and Hawaii.
President Barack Obama commended Illinois, his home state, for its decision, stating he always felt same-sex couples should be treated fairly and equally.
“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,” Obama said in a speech on Jan. 21.
The Huffington Post reported that attempts to legalize same-sex marriage earlier in the year were stalled. Rep. Greg Harris, Illinois Democrat. could not “bring the bill for a vote,” in May because he did not have the support.
Opponents of same-sex marriage in Illinois made it difficult to pass the bill. According to the Huffington Post, Chicago pastors said they would oppose lawmakers who voted for the bill.
“This issue is not just about two adults and their emotional relational and financial commitment to another,” Rep. Tom Morrison said. “Redefining marriage has far reaching implications in our society.”
According to the Huffington Post, the House of Representatives passed the bill 61-54-2 after 4 p.m. Tuesday and the state senate concurred more than an hour later voting 32-29 in favor of SB10.
Reporting by Livie Hall