CHICAGO
02/01/2013 12:38 pm ET Updated Feb 01, 2013

Illinois Gay Marriage: Senate President Aims For Bill To Pass By Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day might just be particularly poignant this year for same-sex couples in Illinois.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton is hoping to see legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois approved by lawmakers in time for the Feb. 14 holiday.

Cullerton told the paper he is hopeful the state Senate will approve the bill next week -- and is confident they have the 30 votes of support needed to do so. The bill would then need to advancing to the House of Representatives, which is considered to be more conservative. Gov. Pat Quinn has already vowed to sign the bill.

Earlier in the week, Cullerton told the City Club of Chicago that those pushing for marriage equality were "getting more support in the public every day," the Associated Press reports.

Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group Equality Illinois, told the Windy City Times that he sees Cullerton's announcement as boding well for his and other advocates' push for marriage equality in the land of Lincoln.

"I believe that the Senate president would not have announced a timeline on the bill if he did not think it had the votes to pass," Cherkasov told the Windy City Times on Friday.

With marriage equality advocates ramping up their efforts, so too are the opposition -- but apparently that group does not include the state's Republican Party. According to a Sun-Times column by Capitol Fax blogger Rich Miller, Illinois GOP lawmakers, too, want to see the marriage equality bill approved as quickly as possible.

With Democratic majorities holding the reins in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly, Miller argues that Republicans hope to get the matter out of the way and behind them.

Nevertheless, a group of African American clergy also stepped up this week to push for the matter of marriage equality in Illinois to be left up to voters, WBEZ reported. On the other side of the issue, 250 clergy members in Illinois previously endorsed the marriage equality bill as "morally just."

Marriage equality supporters in Illinois last month reintroduced legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. Sponsors had hoped to pass the bill during the lame-duck session in early January, but say they ran out of time to do so, though it was advanced by the Senate Executive Committee for the first time. President Barack Obama has expressed his support for the Illinois marriage equality bill.

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Marriage Equality In Illinois

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