Illinois Unites for Marriage reenergizes efforts to win marriage in IL

Today, the campaign to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in Illinois celebrated renewed energy as Illinois Unites for Marriage, the coalition committed to passing marriage legislation in the state, announced the formal relaunch of its efforts. Earlier this year, the Illinois Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples, but the legislation stalled in the House and was not brought to a vote before the end of the legislative session.

Today's relaunch includes the hiring of John Kohlepp, a longtime organizer and lobbyist, as the Campaign Manager for the $2 million campaign that will include a robust public outreach efforts across the state of Illinois. Freedom to Marry is found to be funding the campaign alongside the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, Equality Illinois, The Civil Rights Agenda, the ACLU of Illinois, and thousands of individual organizations and donors. 

Kohlepp set his sights on the next few months of this campaign today in a release. He said:

With the recent Supreme Court ruling on DOMA, Illinois families need marriage more urgently than ever, and they shouldn’t have to travel outside of our borders to get it. Illinois Unites will bring same-sex couples and their children the protections and responsibilities of marriage as soon as possible.

The renewed strategy also includes a new statewide field program, a coordinated House party engagement program, and an earned and paid media campaign. 

Richard Carlbom, Director of State Campaigns at Freedom to Marry, cheered on the renewed efforts today. He said:

It’s a new day in Illinois, with a fresh strategy to bring the freedom to marry to all loving and committed couples in the state. In the wake of historic rulings for marriage at the Supreme Court, Freedom to Marry and our partners are reenergized for this new phase of the campaign, and more committed than ever to following through for the win. With smart mobilization at Illinois Unites and continued leadership in the Legislature, we’ll make Illinois the next marriage state this session.

Winning the freedom to marry in Illinois - in addition to three other states in 2013 and 2014, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Oregon - is a critical track of the Roadmap to Victory, the strategy that Freedom to Marry will continue to follow in order to bring home a national victory for same-sex couples across the United States. By winning marriage in more states, finally ending federal marriage discrimination, and increasing public support for marriage, we know that nationwide resolution on the right side of history is in reach. 

Learn more about the Roadmap to Victory HERE, and read more about marriage in Illinois HERE