Illinois Senate committee approves gay marriage

February 5, 2013

The bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois is advancing. For the second time in a month, the Senate Executive Committee approved the legalization of same-sex marriage along party lines.

Lawmakers tried to pass a similar bill before the end of session last month - but failed to get the necessary support.

On Tuesday, the votes against the measure centered around the same argument as last time, questioning if religious institutions have to host same-sex marriages on their properties.

Joe La Rue is with a national legal group that advocates for religious liberty.

“It simply punts the ball and it says these questions will be decided in the future by the courts and that is tremendously unsettling for the state’s churches,” La Rue said after the vote.

But Sen. Heather Steans, who sponsors the bill, said she doesn’t think those lawsuits will materialize.

“We haven’t seen any since the civil unions was passed and we’re not changing anything,” she said.

Illinois lawmakers approved civil unions in 2010.

Missing from Tuesday’s committee vote was the dramatic show of support sponsors of same-sex marriage had during January’s committee vote. At that time, actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson from Modern Family, went to Springfield to speak on behalf of the bill.

The same-sex marriage measure still needs the vote of the full Senate and House. Senate President John Cullerton has reportedly said he’d like to have the full Senate vote on it next week. Gov. Pat Quinn has said he’d sign the bill.