The Illinois House Executive Committee passed late on Tuesday the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act or SB 10 by a margin of six to five. The marriage equality bill will now go to the full House for a vote. If it garners the sixty votes needed to pass, Governor Pat Quinn has promised to sign the bill into law.
The committee voted along party lines with all but one Democrat voting in favor and all Republicans voting against. Democratic state Representative Eddie Lee Jackson, Sr, voted against the bill, and his fellow Democratic Representative Luis Arroyo has stated that, while he voted for it in committee to send it to the floor of the House, he will vote against it when it goes to a final vote.
The legislation is expected to be voted on early in March.
Director of the Equal Marriage Illinois Project Rick Garcia stated “The momentum behind marriage equality just keeps building. We have seen an amazing surge of support from all over Illinois. With this historic vote we are one step away from marriage equality. We are still working to get the 60 votes in the house, and we will call the bill the moment we have them.”
Currently, nine states have legalized same-sex marriage. Vermont was the first state to pass marriage equality through the legislature while Maine became the first to legalize it at the ballot box through a voter initiative. Maryland, Washington State, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Iowa have all obtained marriage equality through either the legislative process or the courts. Washington DC also has same-sex marriage.