A standing-room only crowd listened to the Illinois Senate Executive Committee hearing Thursday on the marriage equality bill.
WASHINGTON — After a day of mixed reports on the status of the marriage equality bill in Illinois, the Senate Executive Committee approved the bill late Thursday afternoon on an 8-5 vote.
Sen. Heather Steans said the Senate floor vote could come Tuesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. [See update below.] Rick Garcia, the director of the Equal Marriage Illinois Project and senior policy advisor to The Civil Rights Agenda, urged the full Senate to act on the bill:
“The Senate Committee did the right thing today and we look forward to the full Senate following their lead. For the first time in Illinois history, we had a vote on the recognition of same-sex marriages, and we won. If everyone calls their senator, we will continue to win. It is now time for marriage equality advocates to contact their Senators immediately and urge them to vote yes on this legislation.”
The vote in the lame-duck session of the Senate came after a committee hearing, which included testimony from Lambda Legal’s Camilla Taylor about the bill’s religious exemptions.
UPDATE: Despite the committee vote, the bill has been pushed from the lame-duck session to the next general assembly, which begins next week.
From the Windy City Times:
With the limited time remaining in the lame duck session, advocates said Thursday night that there isn’t enough time to pass the full Illinois marriage equality bill in the lame duck session, so they will focus instead on work in the next general assembly, which begins Jan. 9. …
“Today, a few key Senators could not be here for family reasons. What’s important when we reconvene is that we work to protect and strengthen all Illinois families, and that’s what this legislation does,” Democratic Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago said in a statement issued to the media. “I’m confident we can advance this bill in the coming weeks.”