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'Illinois Can't Wait' Video Makes A Powerful Case For Marriage Equality

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Illinois Unites for Marriage/YouTube
Illinois Unites for Marriage/YouTube

A new video released Tuesday by the coalition pushing for legal same-sex marriage in Illinois makes an emotional case for state lawmakers to bring marriage equality to the land of Lincoln.

The video tells the story of Robert Smith and his partner Steven Rynes, a same-sex Chicago couple. The two had hoped to marry in Illinois -- the state where they met and fell in love -- but life had a different plan.

In November 2012, Rynes was diagnosed with terminal stage 3 Melanoma. The following January, the two entered into a civil union together as they anxiously awaited word from Springfield on the state's pending same-sex legislation.

The Illinois marriage bill was approved in a historic vote by the Senate in a February 2013 vote but collapsed in the House in late May. Last Tuesday, Rynes passed away.

"We never got our chance," Smith says in the video. "He wanted one thing in his whole life and that was to get married. And he didn't get it and he'll never get it now."

The couple also shared their story with the Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Brown in a feature published last week.

"Civil unions are not a marriage," Smith added in the video. "A different title does not mean the same thing."

With the fall veto session looming, marriage equality advocates are pushing to get the measure approved and into effect as soon as possible.

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