In the News: Illinois Marriage Bill Clears the Senate

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February 15, 2013
Theresa Volpe and Mercedes Santos, plaintiffs in Lambda Legal's Illinois marriage lawsuit, celebrate victory in the State Senate.

Press coverage of yesterday’s big win in Illinois continues to roll in. And it’s no surprise that Lambda Legal features prominently in the news.

From CNN:

The Illinois Senate passed a measure Thursday to legalize same-sex marriage, voting 34-21.

The state House will consider it next. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has indicated he would sign the bill.

Illinois would be the 10th state, plus the District of Columbia, to legalize same-sex marriage, according to Lambda Legal, a gay rights organization.

Three other states are considering similar legalization, said Camilla Taylor, marriage project director for Lambda Legal. A bill has passed the Rhode Island House and been sent to the Senate. A proposal has been introduced in the Hawaii legislature, and another is expected in Delaware, Taylor said.

From the New York Times:

Less than a month after Mr. Obama first voiced his support for gay marriage last spring, two dozen same-sex couples filed lawsuits in Illinois to push for full marriage rights.

While that legal action is still pending, Jim Bennett, director of the Midwest office of Lambda Legal, a civil-rights group for gay men and lesbians, said his organization has seen a significant change from Illinois lawmakers since even the November elections.

“The people we would have assumed were ‘no’ votes two months earlier now wanted to have a conversation and understand this issue more,” Mr. Bennett said. “Since then, it really feels like a snowball.”

Bennett told the Associated Press that supporting the freedom to marry is "both politically smart and morally right."

"I think it's a safer vote to vote with us than to vote against us at this point," he said.

Bennett also told the Spanish-language Chicago weekly La Raza:

At the end of the day, when people get married, it’s because they want to marry the person they love, and ultimately that’s what we’re fighting for.

I really think the biggest impact for same-sex couples will be that their commitment will be recognized the same way we recognize the commitment of heterosexual couples. They’ll be able to say they’re married, they’ll be able to protect their families and have the tools and the security they need to build a life together.

Learn more about Lambda Legal’s Illinois marriage lawsuit.

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