Democratic Governor Pat Quinn has promised to sign any bill legalizing gay marriage, which would make Illinois the 10th state to legalize same-sex nuptials, in addition to the District of Columbia.
Illinois Democratic lawmakers may mark Valentine’s Day on Thursday by holding a vote in the state Senate to legalize same-sex nuptials, as gay couples around the country used the romantic day to dramatize their quest for the right to marry.
State Senate President John Cullerton promised a vote on the issue by Valentine’s Day, and intense negotiations were under way on details of a measure that majority Democrats hope will have enough support to pass.
Democratic Governor Pat Quinn has promised to sign any bill legalizing gay marriage, which would make Illinois the 10th state to legalize same-sex nuptials, in addition to the District of Columbia, Reuters reports. It would also become the first Midwestern state to approve same-sex marriage through the legislature. Iowa’s Supreme Court legalized such marriages there in 2009.
President Barack Obama has encouraged the drive to legalize gay marriage in his home state, authorizing a White House statement recently saying that if he were still in the Illinois legislature, he would vote for it.
The Illinois drive to legalize gay marriage coincided with a national campaign by a coalition of gay rights groups to highlight the issue on Valentine’s Day.
As part of what they call “Freedom to Marry Week,” same-sex couples will request marriage licenses in 18 places around the country, including a number of states where same sex-marriage is not legal.
A committee of the Illinois state Senate last week approved a measure to legalize same-sex marriage. Democrats say they have the votes to pass it later on Thursday, but some in their own party were opposed, and Republican support was uncertain.