Illinois legislature introduces freedom to marry bill on first day of new session
January 10, 2013
Yesterday was the first day of the 2013 legislative session in Illinois, and IL state Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Greg Harris wasted no time introducing bills to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in the state. The bill, called the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, was filed in both houses yesterday.
"We are one step closer to equality in the Land of Lincoln," Rep. Harris said in a statement today from Equality Illinois (PDF). "The bills we filed today will treat all couples equally under the law. We are going full steam ahead on this."
Last week, the Illinois Senate Executive Committee voted to advance a similar bill, marking the first time that a legislative body in Illinois has ever voted in favor of the freedom to marry. But because the 2012 General Assembly ended on January 8, time to move the bill through both chambers of the state legislature was not on our side. Despite this, momentum to pass marriage legislatively has never been stronger going into the new General Assembly.
Illinois Unites for Marriage, which is chaired by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Equality Illinois, and Lambda Legal, is working alongside legislators to pass the bill in 2013. Freedom to Marry is proud to be a member of the coalition working on the front lines to pass marriage in the legislature.
For the past year, same-sex couples in Illinois have been permitted to join together in civil union, which extends some - but not all - of the protections and responsibilities that marriage provides.