2013 kicks off with big marriage movement in Illinois and Rhode Island

We're just two days in 2013, and already we're seeing big movements on the freedom to marry in key state legislatures for this year.

Some of the most pressing movement is happening this week in Illinois. Today, lawmakers in the state will begin debating the freedom to marry. The legislature is aiming to vote on the legislation before January 9, when a new batch of legislators is sworn into office. Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Greg Harris have already pledged to push for the approval of the bill quickly after the legislative session resumed, and the Illinois Governor, Pat Quinn, has called passing the freedom to marry a key goal for 2013

This weekend, President Barack Obama called on state legislators in Illinois to vote in support of ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. President Obama has consistently shown strong support for the freedom to marry since May 2012, but this marks the first time he has asked members of a state legislature to be on the Right Side of History by passing a marriage bill. 

If you're in Illinois, you can do your part to help pass the marriage law. You can make your voice heard by emailing your state legislators and urging them to vote "yes" on the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. We know that these heartfelt messages and personal stories show why marriage matters, and we know that they really resonate with lawmakers. They worked last year when Illinois passed civil union, a strong step toward the full freedom to marry, and we are confident that they will work this year. 

If Illinois passes the law by January 8, Illinois will join nine other states and the District of Columbia in allowing the freedom to marry for ame-sex couples. Learn more HERE

Tomorrow, Rhode Island should see some movement on the freedom to marry, too. State Rep. Arthur Handy, who has sponsored a marriage bill, said he would work today to recruit cosponsors for the bill, and that he would introduce the bill in the House on Thursday.

Last month, Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed said that she would "certainly" bring the marriage law to a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee this year. Earlier last year, Speaker of the House Gordon Fox said he was also committed to bringing the marriage law to a vote.  

If the law passes in Rhode Island, same-sex couples in every state in New England will have the freedom to marry.

Learn more about the freedom to marry in Illinois and Rhode Island.