Gay marriage gets renewed attention in Illinois

November 13, 2012

The prospect of Illinois lawmakers legalizing gay marriage is getting renewed attention after last week’s elections.

On Election Day, three more states approved same-sex marriage ballot questions: Maine, Maryland and Washington.

llinois currently prohibits same-sex marriage, though it does permit civil unions, which offer gay couples some of the same legal rights as full marriage.

But a same-sex marriage bill is now pending in the General Assembly.

"Well I think the election marked a sea change in American politics," said Chicago Democratic State Rep. Greg Harris, the bill's sponsor. "I think public opinion is changing rapidly, and I hope that our legislature will change as rapidly as the public has."

Harris wouldn’t say when he’ll move on the gay marriage bill. But he says he won’t bring it up for a vote until he knows it will pass.

Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he plans to get “very involved” in passing same-sex marriage.

"The time for marriage equality is now, the time is right and the time is here," Emanuel said Tuesday.

While lawmakers debate in Springfield, gay marriage advocates - and opponents - are currently fighting over the issue in Cook County court.