News (USA)

Illinois marriage equality bill stalled in state Senate by ‘technicality’

Consideration of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois will no longer take place in a Senate committee of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday night.

Supporters of the bill fell two votes short of approving a motion to waive a six-day waiting period that would prevent the bill from entering committee with a vote of 28-24. Key lawmakers who would have been “yes” votes were absent from the vote and proponents of the bill aren’t phased by the slight setback.

Rick Garcia, a longtime LGBT rights activist and director of the Equal Marriage Project at The Civil Rights Agenda, confirmed it’s simply a technicality and should not harm the progress of the bill.

“We look forward to the bill being heard in committee tomorrow,” Garcia said.

Heather Steans (D-Chicago), the Senate’s chief sponsor announced Tuesday that the committee would take up the bill during Wednesday evening’s Senate Executive Committee meeting, which would have allowed her to bring the bill to the Senate floor for full vote almost immediately.

She also predicted that absent senators could delay the committee vote, as some are still traveling back to Springfield after the holidays.

“If everyone shows up, then yes, the votes are here,” she told Chicago Phoenix in a recent interview.

The vote forced the bill off the meeting’s agenda at the last moment — less than an hour before its scheduled time — leaving supporters in the room expecting a rescheduled hearing for Thursday.

Now, Steans expects the bill to go into committee Thursday morning at 11 a.m.

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