Lawmakers close to debating gay marriage

January 3, 2013

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File: Illinois republican Chairman Pat Brady announces a Republican Gubernatorial debate in 2009. Brady says support for gay marriage is 'the most conservative position.'

Illinois state senators could try to take up gay marriage legislation again Thursday.

Some Democratic lawmakers say they are within striking distance of having the votes needed to approve gay marriage in Illinois. But on Wednesday, lawmakers displayed just how contentious this issue could be.

Before it even went to committee, legislators debated not gay marriage, but the process they’ll use to discuss the issue.

Republican State Sen. Dale Righter said it’s hard for the public to follow bills as they move around the Statehouse, and the issue shouldn’t be rushed.

"The least we can do is show them the respect to say, ‘Here it is. Take a look at it for a few days according to our rules,’" he said.

Senators voted 28-24, in effect stalling the bill. But the gay marriage issue could still be addressed again Thursday. It comes as the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party said in a statement that he supports gay marriage while Cardinal Francis George of the Archdiocese of Chicago wrote a letter explaining why he opposes it and urging Catholics to actively fight it.

Sponsors pushing the legislation are trying to pass the bill before the winners of November’s election are sworn in next week.

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