Marriage is safe in Illinois — for the time being, at least. On May 31, the Illinois House of Representatives adjourned for the summer without voting on a bill that would have made Illinois the 13th state to legalize same-sex marriage. The homosexual marriage measure had passed the state Senate in February, and Democratic Governor Pat Quinn had promised to sign the bill into law. But while the Democrats had a majority in the House, Christian and pro-family groups succeeded in building grassroots momentum against the bill, leading some key lawmakers to back off on their support and prompting the bill's sponsor to pull it from consideration.
“This was the hardest thing I've done in my life,” Democratic House sponsor Greg Harris (D-Chicago, shown) told the Chicago Tribune after pulling the bill. Harris, who is openly homosexual, said that fellow Democratic lawmakers had asked him to pull the bill and give them more time to talk their constituents into accepting the inevitability of homosexual marriage in the state. “I’ve never been sadder to accept this request,” Harris said after pulling the bill, “but I have to keep my eye, as we all must, on the ultimate prize. They’ve asked for time to go back to their districts, talk to their constituents, and reach out to their minds and hearts and have told me they’ll return in November with their word that they’re prepared to support this legislation.”
Gov. Quinn issued a statement expressing his own disappointment, but emphasized that he would continue to force the issue. “This is not over,” he said. “The fight goes on. We will keep on fighting until marriage equality is law in Illinois.”
Currently Illinois recognizes civil unions, which give homosexual couples legal benefits equal to marriage. But many same-sex couples “said they weren't satisfied and felt the civil union classification created a second class that wasn't quite marriage,” reported the Chicago Tribune.
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Photo of Illinois Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) standing alone on the House floor: AP Images