Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said he will sign legislation passed Tuesday in the Illinois legislature that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state.
If the governor follows through, Illinois would become the 15th state, along with Washington, D.C., to allow same-sex marriage. Under the legislation, same-sex couples could begin marrying in June, according to the Associated Press.
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"To treat all our citizens equally in the eyes of the law we must change this," State Rep. Greg Harris, who is the main sponsor, told the Associated Press. "Families have been kept apart."
Equality Illinois's Bernard Cherkasov told the Chicago Tribune
that while the legislation faced significant opposition, forcing Harris to delay introducing it, he was pleased with the outcome.
"The first thought that popped into my mind was all those families around the state that I've met over the past five years in fighting for marriage equality," Cherkasov said. "The couples, their parents, their children, all who have waited for this moment. And I thought about my own daughter, who is 4 years old, that she will grow up not knowing that the first four years of her life were spent with the state treating her family as second-class citizens."
The Catholic Conference of Illinois said in a statement they were disappointed with the outcome.
"(The Catholic Conference is) deeply disappointed that members of the General Assembly chose to redefine what is outside of its authority: a natural institution like marriage," read the statement, per the Chicago Tribune. "We remain concerned about the very real threats to religious liberty that are at stake with the passage of this bill."
Ed Yohnka, spokesman of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which is involved in a lawsuit against Illinois challenging its same-sex marriage ban with Lambda Legal, told the Chicago Tribune that the bill is a big moment for same-sex couples.
"The truth is that this is really a victory for the thousands of couples and their families across the state of Illinois who are going to wake up and read in the paper that a majority of the leaders in this state now believe they are equal to everyone else," Yohnka said.
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