Ill. House speaker extends marriage bill deadline for possible summer session

APMichael Madigan

Michael Madigan

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois same-sex marriage bill had its deadline date for approval extended into the summer.

House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) acted quietly on Friday night before the House adjourned to extend the bill’s deadline for approval until August 31.

Michael Madigan

State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) told a packed House chamber on Friday evening that he had to put off a vote on the proposal until November.

However, were Governor Pat Quinn to call lawmakers back to Springfield in the summer for a special session to address pension reform, which also was left without resolution, he could include Senate Bill 10 in a special session proclamation.

If Quinn declines to include marriage equality in any order to lawmakers to return to Springfield, Madigan could call a House special session of his own at the same time to take up the legislation, an insider noted.

“It’s a fascinating move,” said one, long-time lobbyist. “It suggests that there is plan to get it done.”

A veteran Democratic lawmaker briefed on Madigan’s step said, “A potential summer special session would channel the energy and anger of marriage equality backers into productive versus destructive advocacy.”

Nevertheless, during a summer session, House lawmakers would need to amend the bill and change the effective date from “30 days” from a gubernatorial signature to January 1 in order to avoid a 3/5th or 71 vote requirement, an insurmountable hurdle.

Amending the bill’s effective date would also require an Illinois Senate vote to concur with such a change.

A deadline extension by itself resolves none of the political problems associated with the bill’s opponents, but it may give advocates an incentive to work to resolve them before summer’s end.

This Story Filed Under