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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriages (SSM) & civil unions in Illinois.

2013-MAY: President Obama supports bill. The
Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act
was not voted upon in the House. Some reactions.

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This topic is continued from a previous essay.

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2013-MAY-21: President Obama supports marriage equality bill:

Shin Inouye, a spokesperson for President Obama, responded to a question by Politico on the SSM bill. He said:

"Were the president still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally. ..."

"While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect. As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so." 1

He repeated his support two days later, saying:

"Here in Illinois, we’ve got a vote on same-sex marriage that’s going to be coming up in the Legislature. I just want to say for the record it’s something that I deeply support." 2

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2013-MAY-21: Former President Clinton supports marriage equality bill:

The group "Freedom to Marry" which promotes marriage equality, distributed a statement by former President Bill Clinton supporting the Illinois same-sex marriage bill.

He said:

"Our nation's permanent mission is to form a 'more perfect union' – deepening the meaning of freedom, broadening the reach of opportunity, strengthening the bonds of community. That mission has inspired and empowered us to extend rights to people previously denied them. Every time we have done that, it has strengthened our nation. Now we should do it again, in Illinois, with marriage equality." 3

A month earlier, he had accepted the "Advocate for Change Award" at the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. GLAAD is one of the main national organization promoting equality for the LGBT community.

His acceptance speech: (14 minutes, 17 seconds):


He gave thanks to his daughter Chelsea for helping him understand LGBT matters. This begins at 8 minutes, 0 seconds into the speech.

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2013-MAY-25: Deadline extended for vote in House:

A procedural vote passed to allow the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act to be voted upon in the House any time up to Friday, MAY-31. Chief Sponsor Rep. Greg Harris told Windy City Times he will "absolutely" call the bill to a vote before session ends at month end, and that it will pass. 5

The Rockford Register Star gave the following summary of the bill:

  • In support: The Illinois Unites for Marriage coalition — led by three gay-rights advocacy groups — is among the driving forces behind the bill. In addition to [Governor] Quinn, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is among Democrats in support. U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, the state’s top elected Republican, also supports the proposal, as does outgoing state Republican chairman Pat Brady.

  • In opposition: The bill has faced fierce opposition from religious organizations and other groups that believe same-sex marriages undermine the sanctity of such unions. The Catholic Conference of Illinois has distributed a toolkit to churches and schools outlining the church’s position that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Prominent pastors of several large black churches in the Chicago area have fought the measure through radio commercials and robocalls.

If the House passes the bill, and the Governor signs it into law as he promised, then same-sex marriages could begin thirty days later.

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2013-MAY-31: Senate Bill 010 was not called for a vote in the House:

Over 1,800 people were watching the live video feed from the House by 12:00 noon. 6 This rose to in excess of 3,000 later in the day.

The SSM bill was not called in the House. On the evening of MAY-31, the House went into recess until 2013-NOV.

There was a small pro-equality demonstration of about 50 people in the Rotunda of the building, accompanied by a smaller number of protestors opposing equality.

A 7 PM Chicago time, the Huffington Post reported:

"With its spring legislative session set to adjourn within a matter of hours, it appears unlikely the Illinois House of Representatives will vote on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state yet [sic] Friday.

If the House does not take up the measure Friday, it will be delayed by many months and would likely next be considered during the fall 'veto' session. The bill was already approved by the state Senate and Gov. Quinn has vowed to sign it -- so the House vote is the last remaining obstacle to its passage." 7

Later in the evening, reported that:

"Rep. Greg Harris, the sponsor of SB10, a bill that would legalize gay marriage in Illinois, said he will not call the bill for a vote." 8

He confirmed that there were not sufficient votes to pass the bill. Some of the representatives had asked for time to go back to their districts to discuss the bill with their constituents.

This was a great dissapointment to the LGBT and civil rights communities in Illinois. However, it was not unprecedented. The process was also delayed in the drives for marriage equality in Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York. However, it later succeeded in all but New Jersey where the Republican governor vetoed the bill even though it had passed with majority votes in the Senate and House, and had the majority support of the public.

The sponsors of the Illinois marriage bill issued an apology to the families who came to the state capitol in anticipation of watching a vote on the bill.

They wrote:

"Like you, we are incredibly disappointed about what happened Friday in Springfield. But let's not forget something very important: Marriage equality is going to happen.

As a community, we must come together, assess our strategy, and redouble our efforts in the fight for fundamental fairness. This is not the time for us to splinter — for that is exactly what our opponents want.

The more united we are in the coming days and weeks, the sooner the bill will get passed — and the sooner our dream of full equality will become a reality.

We want to extend our sincerest apologies to the families who rushed to Springfield in the waning hours of session to support equality in anticipation of this historic vote. You have been and continue to be our inspiration and we pledge to fight together until we achieve full equality for all Illinois families." 9

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Jennifer Epstein, "Obama supports Illinois same-sex marriage bill," Politico, 2013-MAY-21, at:
  2. Tony Merevick, Vote on Illinois marriage equality bill expected Thursday or Friday," Chicago Phoenix, 2013-MAY-30, at:
  3. "Bill Clinton Gay Marriage: Former President Urges Illinois To Approve Marriage Equality Bill," Huffington Post, 2013-MAY-21, at:
  4. "President Bill Clinton speaks out against DOMA at the GLAAD awards," You Tube, 2013-APR, at:
  5. Kate Sosin, "Illinois Gay Marriage Extension: House Extends Deadline To Consider And Clear Bill Next Week," Windy City Times, 2013-MAY-31, at:
  6. "House floor coverage," Illinois government, at:
  7. "Illinois Gay Marriage: House Likely Won't Vote On Same-Sex Marriage Bill Friday," Huffington Post, 2013-MAY-31, at:
  8. "Gay marriage bill dead this season," Ward Room, NBC - Chicago, 2013-MAY-31, at:
  9. "Marriage equality bill sponsors issue apology to families," Windy City Times, 2013-JUN-03, at:

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Site navigation:

Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > SSM Menu > Illinois > here

Home > Same-sex marriage> SSM Menu > Illinois > here

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Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Initially posted: 2013-MAY-21
Latest update: 2013-SEP-21
Author: B.A. Robinson
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