January could bring vote on gay marriage in Illinois

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Illinois lawmakers could vote on gay marriage in January.

Illinois state Rep. Greg Harris and state Sen. Heather Steans, the chief sponsors of the state's gay marriage bill, said Dec. 13 that they want to call for a vote on the measure in early 2013.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, D, has said before that he'd like to sign the proposed measure – the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act – as early as January.

Meanwhile, Lambda Legal and the ACLU continue to work on two legal cases aimed at securing marriage equality in the state.

Camilla Taylor, Lambda's marriage project director, said, "Rep. Harris and Sen. Steans, the co-sponsors of HB 5170, have brought hope to thousands of same-sex couples across Illinois. Whether it's through the courts or through the legislature, Illinois same-sex couples and their children need the freedom to marry now, and it's encouraging that our elected officials agree. The time is now."

Bernard Cherkasov of Equality Illinois, a statewide LGBT civil rights group, said, "Our members and supporters by the thousands will be contacting lawmakers, and we urge everyone who believes that we all should be treated fairly and equally by the law to reach out to your senator and representative to let them know to vote 'yes' on the marriage equality bill."

Same-sex couples currently can be joined in civil unions in Illinois.