Ill. Lawmakers Promise to Hear Gay Marriage Bill
"We will be back, and we will be voting on this bill, in this legislature," said Illinois State Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago), sponsor of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act which died on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives last Friday without coming to a vote by the legislative session's end. Passage of that bill would have made Illinois the 13th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Harris and other legislative leaders are now promising they will bring the measure back for passage, The Washington Times reports.
Despite receiving support from Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, the 60 votes were not there for the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, said Harris, one of four openly gay members of the Illinois House of Representatives.
Although vote on the bill did not meet the May 31 end of session deadline, the bill can be revived in November in the "veto session" but would need 71 votes to pass. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who has urged lawmakers to pass the measure, could call for a special legislative session in the summer to address pension reform, which was also not voted on Friday, along with the marriage equality measure.
Gay marriage supporters were distressed over the outcome of the bill, with Bernard Cherkasov, chief executive of Equality Illinois, saying it was disgraceful.
"Make no mistake, we will fight and make our case until all Illinois families have the freedom to marry the person they love, and until the legislative vote reflects the solid majority of Illinoisans and Americans who stand for treating their neighbors the way they want to be treated," Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, told the Times.
The measure easily passed the state Senate on Valentine's Day and many suspected it would do the same in the House.