With the end of the Illinois state legislature's spring session looming and the tally of lawmakers supporting a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the land of Lincoln reaching a tipping point, Gov. Pat Quinn has renewed his call for the state House to vote on the matter.
Quinn, who was instrumental in the effort to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples in Illinois, said on the heels of Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signing a marriage-equality bill into law Thursday that "it's time to vote" on Illinois' bill. He added, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, that he believes that "a majority exists to get this bill passed through the House onto my desk so I can sign it into law."
“Now the eyes of the country are on Illinois to see if we are going to do the right thing," the Democratic governor told the Chicago Tribune.
The Illinois Senate approved the bill in a Valentine's Day vote and a House committee advanced the measure toward a full House vote later February, but there hasn't been much action publicly on the bill since that time.
As ABC Chicago points out, a coalition of African-American faith leaders have joined Cardinal Francis George and Chicago's Catholic Archdiocese in lobbying against the bill in recent weeks. The National Organization for Marriage helped fund a recent robo-call campaign, voiced by former state Sen. and Salem Baptist Church of Chicago minister James Meeks, opposing marriage equality.
Despite that opposition, the bill's proponents say they are very close to the number of supportive votes needed to get the measure passed in the House, sending the bill to the governor.
Rep. Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat and the bill's lead sponsor, told ABC "we're now very close" to the number of votes they need to passage. When they reach that number, Harris said, they will call the vote.
A "government source" close to supporters' lobbying efforts on the bill specifically told Chicago Phoenix this week that the tally stands at about 58. Sixty yes votes are needed for the bill to advance.
But the clock is ticking: Illinois' spring legislative session ends on May 31. In the mean time, the General Assembly also currently has battling pension reform bills, concealed carry legislation, a medical marijuana proposal and gambling legislation on their plate, among other things.
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