Victory in Illinois: IL House passes marriage bill, poised for governor’s signature

Today, the Illinois House of Representatives voted in favor of the Religious Freedom and Fairness Act, affirming that same-sex couples across the state should have the freedom to marry. The bill was approved with overwhelming support by the Illinois Senate in February, and it is now poised to be confirmed once more by the Senate and signed by Governor Pat Quinn, a strong supporter of marriage for same-sex couples. Governor Quinn has promised to sign the bill into law, ensuring that Illinois will soon become the fifteenth state where same-sex couples can marry!

The vote was 61-54, with 61 in favor of the bill. Once the bill is signed by the governor, the freedom to marry will take effect on June 1, 2014. 

Freedom to Marry's National Campaign Director, Marc Solomon, heralded the victory, celebrating this has a win for the people of Illinois and for the campaign to win marriage nationwide. He said:

Today’s vote by the Illinois House means the Land of Lincoln will be our nation’s fifteenth freedom to marry state. This is great news for the thousands of committed same-sex couples in Illinois who will now be able to make the ultimate vow before their friends and family, protected and supported by their marriage. It also represents tremendous momentum, with another victory in the heartland and our sixth state victory in 2013.

Freedom to Marry is proud to be a lead partner in Illinois Unites for Marriage. We thank the tireless leadership of lead bill sponsors in the House and Senate, Rep. Greg Harris and Sen. Heather Steans as well as House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, Governor Pat Quinn, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, all of whom played crucial roles in advancing the legislation.

This year, Freedom to Marry has worked as a key partner with Illinois Unites for Marriage, the coalition working to pass the marriage bill in Illinois. Freedom to Marry has provided strategic guidance and counsel on all aspects of the legislative campaign, in addition to managing the digital strategy for Illinois Unites and supporting newspaper and radio advertisements. Through the Win More States Fund, Freedom to Marry has channeled resources to Illinois to support grassroots field organizing and paid advertising. 

Illinois Unites for Marriage campaign manager John Kohlepp celebrated today's huge win in a statement. He said:

Today is an important and historic day for the State of Illinois and for the rest of our country. Our neighbors, our colleagues, our family members and friends – everyone in our state will now enjoy the freedom to marry. I want to thank our many coalition partners, staff and state-wide community partners, including the thousands from the faith, African-American and Latino communities. We couldn’t have done it without you. We look forward to the Illinois Senate’s approval and Governor Quinn quickly signing this momentous legislation into law.

The victory in Illinois marks the sixth state victory in 2013. Earlier this year, we celebrated wins in Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, and California. Once the freedom to marry takes effect in Illinois, 37 percent of the U.S. population will live in states where same-sex couples can marry. 

Through the Win More States Fund, Freedom to Marry has strategically channeled funds to state campaigns - and you can help us make 2013 even bigger, by giving to the Fund and supporting efforts to win in Hawaii and New Mexico. 

Learn more about the Win More States Fund HERE