The Illinois Senate approved a gay marriage measure in a vote held Thursday.
The Democratic-led Senate cast a 34-21 vote in favor of passing the bill which, for the first time in Illinois, would give same-sex couples the right to legalize their union. The measure will now continue to the House where it will reportedly face stronger opposition.
An article by Reuters writes that Illinois Democratic Governor Pat Quinn has indicated his intention to sign any bill legalizing the issue. The move would make Illinois the tenth state to legally support same-sex nuptials, in addition to the District of Columbia.
While 2009 saw the Iowa Supreme Court’s approval of gay marriage, Illinois would be the first state in the Midwest to legalize the issue through legislation. Civil unions for straight and gay couples have been legal in Illinois for the past two years.
According to The Chicago Tribune, the legislation voted on today would officially change the definition of marriage in state law to an act between two people, rather than a male and female.
The measure explicitly states that no religious denomination or minister would be legally forced to “solemnize any marriage.”
Senator Heather Steans, who sponsored the measure, assured that religious facilities such as parishes, churches, or fellowship halls would not be required by law to host a gay marriage ceremony.
Following today’s vote several opposing views on the issue were expressed.
Republican Senator Tim Bivins stated:
“We’re knocking down one of the basic foundations of society.”
Democratic Senator Willie Delgados remarked:
“For the love of God, I feel like I’m sitting in 1865, where similar debates were created on why slavery should continue in this country. This is the time. This is the place. This is the moment… We are one people.”
What are your thoughts on the Illinois Senate’s decision to approve gay marriage?