With a vote of 34-21, the Illinois Senate passed HB 4963 Thursday, moving Illinois same-sex couples and their families one step closer to the freedom to marry. Lambda Legal celebrates the vote and urges the Illinois House of Representatives to follow.
“We thank the Illinois Senate for passing this historic bill, making this a sweet Valentine’s Day for loving same-sex couples across the state,” said Jim Bennett, Regional Director of Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Office. “The momentum for marriage continues on this day American holiday honoring love and commitment, and we now urge the House of Representatives to join the right side of history and grant same-sex couples the dignity and respect of marriage.”
Lambda Legal congratulates and thanks the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, Heather Steans, along with Senate co-sponsors Koehler, Hutchinson, Harmon and Delgado. Lambda Legal also thanks the bill’s sponsor in the House of Representatives, Representative Greg Harris, along with Representatives Kelly Cassidy and Deb Mell. To become law, the bill needs at least 60 votes in the House and the Governor’s signature.
The momentum for the freedom to marry has been steadily building — several pro-equality ballot measures passed during the November elections, President Obama has endorsed marriage for same-sex couples, and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have publicly supported lesbian and gay couples’ right to marry. Currently, same-sex couples can marry in Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C.
Together, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois each filed lawsuits on May 30, 2012, representing a total of 25 same-sex couples from across the state of Illinois seeking the freedom to marry. Two days later, the Illinois Attorney General’s office filed papers agreeing that barring same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional. The Cook County Clerk and States Attorney also agree that the marriage ban is unconstitutional.
For more information about Lambda Legal’s case, Darby v. Orr, visit the case page at www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/
Camilla Taylor, National Marriage Project Director and Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Office are handling the case Darby v. Orr for Lambda Legal. They are joined by Emily Nicklin, Jordan M. Heinz and Amy Crawford of Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago.