Illinois House Passes Marriage Equality Bill!

VictoryHouse1CHICAGO –  The Illinois House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to allow marriage equality. The amended bill, which puts June 1, 2014, as the date marriages can be begin, needs to go through the State Senate, which has approved the bill once already, and be signed by Governor Pat Quinn, who has already sworn to sign the bill.

The passage means that Illinois is the third state in the Midwest and 15th nationally to have marriage equality. It also means that the top three largest metro areas have marriage equality legalized.

NBC5 Chicago reported that the bill passed 61-54. State Rep. Greg Harris, the bill’s sponsor, amended the bill so it went into effect in June, thus requiring only 60 votes to pass the House. The amended bill will go back to the Senate for approval then on to the Governor for signing.

“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,” said John Kohlhepp, Campaign Manager for Illinois Unites for Marriage, on the group’s website.  “We look forward to the Illinois Senate’s approval and Governor Quinn quickly signing this momentous legislation into law.”

The bill was brought up in for vote I the last week of the State Assembly’s veto session, much to the surprise of many in the state. The debate quickly drew national attention and was over in a matter of hours. The state now joins Iowa and Minnesota in full marriage equality.