State Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Greg Harris are introducing bills legalizing same-sex marriage today, the first day of the new session of the Illinois General Assembly.
A vote had originally been planned for last week, during the lame-duck legislative session, but not enough support could be counted on to push it through.
“The time is here, the time is now to recognize and protect all Illinois families,” said Rick Garcia, director of the Equal Marriage Illinois project of The Civil Rights Agenda. “To get this done, we need real people to stand up, tell our stories and be counted.”
Support for marriage equality in Illinois has come from some unexpected corners, including hundreds of clergy, the leader of the Illinois GOP, President Obama and Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
“Giving gay and lesbian couples the freedom to get married honors the best conservative principles. It strengthens families and reinforces a key Republican value – that the law should treat all citizens equally,” said Pat Brady, chair of the Illinois Republican Party.
The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act will be simultaneously introduced in both the House and the Senate after new legislators are sworn into office.