The end of the lame duck legislative session in Illinois may have seemed like the end of the line for same-sex marriage in the state, but it was only a temporary set back. Senator Heather Steans and Representative Greg Harris have introduced bills to the Illinois General Assembly on the very first day of the legislative session which began on 9 January.
Rick Garcia, the director of the Equal Marriage Illinois Project (a subsidiary of The Civil Rights Agenda), stated “The time is here, the time is now to recognize and protect all Illinois families. Momentum for same-sex marriage is building throughout the country and throughout the Land of Lincoln. . .To get this done, we need real people to stand up, tell our stories and be counted. It is not a matter of if same sex marriage will come to Illinois but when it will come to Illinois. And, the time is now!”
Leaders from various religious, business, civil and labor communities have endorsed marriage equality in Illinois, and President Barack Obama has even endorsed its passage. Right Reverend Jeffrey Lee, and Episcopal Bishop of Chicago, stated “The faithful, loving and lifelong commitment of two persons – of the same sex or opposite sex – is capable of signifying the never failing love of God.”
Not all religions are, of course, behind the move as the Roman Catholic Church has vocally opposed any move towards equality.
Karen GJ Lewis, the President of the Chicago Teachers Union, stated that “[The Chicago teachers Union is] in full support of this measure for two reasons—the equality it will help bring to our union members who are in committed, same-sex relationships, and the stability it will provide for the children and families we serve.”
The political divide has been breached, however, and Pat Brady, the Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, has backed marriage equality saying “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.”