Steven and Robert in Illinois: A tragic reminder that we can’t wait for marriage
September 11, 2013
Early yesterday morning, September 10, 2013, Steven Hynes passed away with his partner Robert Smith by his side. The couple lived together in Chicago, Illinois, where they were joined together in civil union. For months, they have been eagerly waiting for their home state of Illinois to pass a bill extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples, and they were left waiting on the day that Steven passed away after battling terminal stage 3 Melanoma for nearly a year.
Their story is a tragic reminder that across the country, real people's lives are behind these conversations about legislation and litigation in favor of marriage. Real couples need the freedom to marry in the state where they live. Real families are hurt when the freedom to marry is denied or states refuse to respect the marriages of same-sex couples.
Illinois Unites for Marriage, the coalition working to pass a marriage bill in Illinois this year, spoke with Robert and published a profile on their site today. The profile reads:
"He got so sick so fast we couldn’t go to Iowa [where same-sex couples can marry]. This is it. We don’t get a redo or a second chance. Steve passed away, and he’s not coming back later so we get another chance. We are living beings with a limited time to either have a great happy life or to miss our chances and never get another. I love my husband, and the fact that I had to see him leave this world without something we both really wanted is unforgivable," Robert said.
Steven and Robert were not able to marry in the state of Illinois before Steven’s passing – and their story is a painful reminder of why Illinois lawmakers must act now to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. Illinois families can’t afford to wait any longer. And the longer the members of the House delay passing this crucial legislation, the more families suffer.
"I fought for us, for him," Robert said. "But in the end, I am left here alone."