The Illinois state Senate voted 32 to 21 in favor of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage on Thursday. The law would redefine marriage as the legal union of two people, not specifically a man and a woman. It would also convert civil unions to marriages within a year’s time. Religious institutions and individuals that oppose homosexuality would not be required to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples.
Two years ago, Illinois passed historic civil union legislation. Now with the possibility of same-sex marriage being legalized, some conservative senators feel homosexuality is moving front and center in a threatening way. Senator Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) told reporters, “People have a right to live as they choose; they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us.” Same-sex marriage has plenty of supporters, however, one being Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D), who says that “when two people love each other, no government entity should stand in the way of letting them express that love.”
Governor Pat Quinn (D says he will sign the bill into the law if it passes in the state House, however it is unclear if the legislation will be brought to the House floor. This is the farthest a same-sex marriage bill has gotten in the Illinois General Assembly. If the bill is signed into law, it would make Illinois the 10th state to legalize same sex marriage.