The Illinois Senate on Thursday is expected to advance a bill legalizing same-sex marriage to a vote in the state House of Representatives, the last remaining obstacle to marriage equality in the land of Lincoln.
The historic vote is expected to come Thursday afternoon, according to the Windy City Times, and marriage equality proponents are very confident in their odds.
(UPDATE: The bill was approved Thursday. Read more.)
The bill was advanced last week by the state Senate Executive Committee, for the second time. Following that vote, the powerful Illinois Senate President John Cullerton said he, too, was confident the bill will be approved by the full Senate in its Valentine's Day vote and, in his State of the State address, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn urged both chambers of the state General Assembly to approve the bill so that he can sign into law.
The state House of Representatives is considered to be more conservative than the state Senate and those opposed to the bill are also ramping up their efforts. Downstate, Springfield Bishop Thomas John Paprocki issued a screed urging that Catholics who "propose or promote the legal establishment of marriage as something other than the union of one man and one woman harm the common good of society."
Cardinal Francis George has also opposed the bill, drawing the ire of LGBT advocates in Chicago who marched in front of Holy Name Cathedral on Sunday to oppose what they described as “the bigotry of the Church leadership's positions," Medill reports.
Marriage equality proponents previously had hoped to pass the bill during the lame-duck session in early January, but say they ran out of time to do so.
"All eyes are on us," Camilla Taylor, Chicago-based marriage project director for Lambda Legal told CNN this week. "It's looking great. We're very excited about Illinois."
"I've been told it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when it's going to be done," veteran marriage equality advocate Rick Garcia, senior policy advisor at The Civil Rights Agenda, told HuffPost last week. "Throughout the political spectrum, people [in Springfield] know marriage equality is going to happen."
If Illinois moves to legalize same-sex marriage, it will become the tenth marriage equality U.S. state. The state has had civil unions available for same-sex couples since June 2011.
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