Ill. governor to House lawmakers: ‘It’s time to vote’ on marriage equality bill

Gov. Pat Quinn (D-Ill.)

Gov. Pat Quinn (D-Ill.)

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Thursday called on state lawmakers in the House to send him the bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, and said they have had enough time to consider the pending legislation.

Gov. Pat Quinn (D-Ill.)

“It’s time to vote,” Quinn said. “Illinois passing marriage equality into law, I think, sends a great signal to the people of our state and the people of America. So it’s important to Illinois (that) the House of Representatives get going.”

Quinn’s message to the Illinois House comes one day after Delaware‘s Governor Jack Markell signed a same-sex marriage bill into law, and the same day the Minnesota House endorsed a same sex marriage bill.

The Illinois Senate passed the measure more than two months ago, on February 14.

Quinn, a Democrat, contends that there are enough votes to pass the bill, but the primary sponsor in the House, Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), told the Chicago Tribune that he wasn’t certain when he expects to call the legislation for a vote.

Harris noted the lawmakers were focused on pension reform, but said momentum continues to build in favor of same-sex marriage.

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“In the last couple months we have seen the voters of three different states vote for marriage equality at the ballot box and in the last week we saw two other states, and probably a third today, where the legislature said that treating people equally is the right American thing to do,” Harris said. “Now the eyes of the country are on Illinois to see if we are going to do the right thing.”

Supporters of teh bill claim that they are close to achieving the necessary 60 House votes required to send the bill to Quinn, but noted they aren’t willing to push the measure for the vote until they’re sure they have enough votes lined up to pass it.

As opponents of same-sex marriage continue to push to block the measure from reaching a final vote, Harris said he hopes his colleagues are paying attention to the action in other states, saying that “none of the horrible scenarios” that opponents envision have come true.

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