A new poll released Tuesday suggests that a majority of Illinoisans are hoping that their state legislature will move to legalize same-sex marriage this year -- and are more passionate in that belief than opponents of such legislation.
In a Crain's/Ipsos poll of 600 Illinois adults, 50 percent of respondents supported the marriage equality bill that the state Senate approved last week. On the other side of the issue, only 29 percent of respondents opposed the bill, while 20 percent said they were unsure or had mixed feelings about the issue.
Perhaps more interestingly, marriage equality supporters reported feeling more strongly about their position on the issue than those opposed to the bill in the online poll. Thirty-seven percent of those who support the bill said they felt "strongly" about the matter, while only 19 percent of those who oppose it described their opposition as "strong."
"The differing splits are within the survey's [4.7 percent] accuracy range but may indicate that lawmakers face as much or more political risk voting 'no' as they do 'yes,'" Greg Hinz wrote of the Crain's poll's findings.
The new poll comes on the heels of another poll released last week by Southern Illinois University's Paul Simon Policy Institute that also reported support for marriage equality among registered voters in the state nearing majority support in numbers that drastically outpace those of only three years ago.
While Illinois has had civil unions available for same-sex couples since June 2011, Charles Leonard, the director of the poll, said in a statement that Illinoisans are "moving their support for civil unions to support for full marriage," per their findings.
Illinois' marriage equality bill will next be considered by the state House of Representatives, which is considered to be more conservative than the Senate. State Rep. Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat who is the bill's House sponsor, told the Chicago Sun-Times last week he is confident the bill will pass in the House, but did not say when a vote will be taken.
If the House approves the bill, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has said he will sign it into law, which would make Illinois the tenth U.S. state to offer legal same-sex marriage.
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