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Frustration mounts as vote nears on Illinois same-sex marriage bill

Thursday, May 30, 2013
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Black lawmakers undecided on Illinois’ proposed marriage equality bill are feeling increasing pressure as a vote nears, but are keeping mum on their plans.

Few members of the House Black Caucus have publicly backed the measure, which would make Illinois the 13th state to allow same-sex marriage.

Caucus members are being lobbied extensively by both sides. Their support is seen as key.

Rep. Will Davis of Chicago, who is undecided, urged advocates to “look to the Republican side.”

Chicago Rep. Emanuel Welch said Wednesday he was “leaning yes,” but would not commit to a vote until it is called.

On Tuesday, LaShawn Ford, a Chicago Democrat who had previously been undecided, said Tuesday a “majority of constituents” in his district support of the legislation, and announced he would vote in favor of the bill.

In April, Rep. Ken Dunkin, the leader of the 30-member Illinois Legislative Black Caucus group, announced his support for the legislation and signed on to co-sponsor the bill. The Chicago Democrat says said families living in his district are waiting for the state to treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve.

The bill’s sponsor, Chicago Rep. Greg Harris, said a vote is expected before Friday.

The Senate passed the marriage bill on February 14. Pat Quinn supports the measure and has pledged to sign it into law.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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