The vote on gay marriage in the Illinois legislature was delayed until the next legislative session largely due to concerns that the bill would not probably not pass before the end of the current session. Two key supporters were unable to make the vote. This latest update comes at a time when the Illinois legislature and governor are likely to support the right of same-sex couples to marry.
Republican U.S. Representative Judy Biggert from Illinois recently declared that she considered same-sex marriage to be a state issue. She then went on to suggest that the federal government does not make laws regarding polygamy and bigamy, and that those are left up to the states.
Eleven Republican and Democratic members of the Illinois General Assembly have taken a stance against same-sex marriage. Headed by Republican Senator Kirk Dillard of Westmont and Democratic Senator Bill Haine of Alton, the group of politicians filed an amicus curiae brief in defense of the current Illinois statutory definition of marriage as being between a husband and wife. The brief was filed in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal. The suit challenges the state's prohibition on same sex partner marriages, arguing that the ban is illegal under the Illinois constitution.
As the November elections get closer, the debate over same-sex marriage rages on in Illinois and across the country. Recent announcements by CEOs and political parties have added fuel to the fire. Over the last two years, there have been major changes in Illinois as to the rights of same-sex couples. Last year, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a law legalizing civil unions between couples of the same sex. Furthermore, as this blog mentioned in the past, a lawsuit was also filed seeking to legalize gay marriage in Illinois.
There are some benefits that heterosexual couples get to take advantage of -- often without even thinking about them. These benefits often include financial advantages and decision making powers. However, the same is not true for the estimated 900,000 same sex couples in the United States. While Illinois does recognize civil unions, theses Illinois laws will not protect couples when they travel outside of the state.