Illinoisans are headed to Springfield today (Oct. 22) to march on the Capitol and rally for marriage equality.
Citizens are driving, taking Amtrak trains and boarding chartered buses this morning for the mid-day event that marks the start of the fall veto session.
In Chicago, buses were set to depart from North Side and South Side locations at 7:30 a.m.
Speakers scheduled for a noon gathering in the Capitol rotunda include Gov. Pat Quinn, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, Senate President John Cullerton, Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov and the sponsors of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.
The equality bill passed in the state Senate on Valentine's Day. The measure, apparently lacking the votes needed in the House, was not taken up on the last day of the regular session in May.
The measure’s sponsors agreed to a delay until this fall, with the expectation the bill would be called.
Polls show a clear majority of Illinois voters support the legislation.
Newspapers throughout the state have endorsed equality and called for passage of SB210.
And the number of businesses, nonprofits and other organizations backing the measure continues to increase.
Lawmakers face a number of decisions in the annual two-week veto session, including the equality bill, supplemental spending, tax incentives for Archer Daniels Midland, state retiree health insurance costs and, perhaps, the most contentious, pension reform.
Out state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, has said he hopes colleagues are ready to vote on the marriage bill he's sponsored.
The legislation that the Senate approved would take effect immediately. According to the Springfield Journal-Register, that means the measure needs 71 votes in the House during the veto session to pass. If the bill is amended to delay the effective date, the required vote drops to 60 but the Senate would need to vote again.
Equality opponents are scheduled to rally on Oct. 23 at the Capitol.