Marriage Equality Coming to the Land of Lincoln

by Charles Joughin

Illinois bill passes state House, heads back to Senate for final passage before Gov. Quinn makes it law

WASHINGTON – Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, heralded the passage of marriage equality legislation in the Illinois House of Representatives.  The legislation now heads back to the state Senate in order to accept minor House amendments before proceeding to the desk of Gov. Pat Quinn for signature.  Illinois will become the 15th state, plus the District of Columbia, to grant marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

“Today the Land of Lincoln rededicated itself to the proposition that all are created equal,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.  “Thanks to principled impatience from state leaders in Springfield, the overwhelming momentum toward nationwide marriage equality continues to intensify.”

Sponsored by state Sen. Heather Steans in the state Senate and state Rep. Greg Harris in the state House of Representatives, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Equality Act passed the state Senate 34-21 on February 14 and today 61-54 in the state House.  The law will take effect on June 1, 2014.

HRC has been on the ground in Illinois since mid-January supporting the field operations, and provided 15 field organizers who with our campaign partners helped generate 34,000 phone calls, 80,000 emails, and 29,000 postcards to key legislators.  HRC was a proud partner of the Illinois Unites for Marriage campaign, working hand in hand with our partner organizations Equality Illinois, ACLU, Lambda Legal, Freedom to Marry and other pro-equality groups. 

"Having HRC field organizers on the ground was extremely helpful to this campaign,” said Illinois State Representative Greg Harris – the primary sponsor of the bill.  “HRC was a true partner of the Illinois Unites for Marriage coalition.  Thank you, Team HRC."

The passage of marriage equality in Illinois comes just days before the Hawaii state House is expected to vote on its own marriage equality legislation, which passed the state Senate on October 30.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.


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