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Illinois Senate President: ‘Timing is right’ to pass same-sex marriage

Illinois Senate President: ‘Timing is right’ to pass same-sex marriage

CHICAGO — Illinois Senate President John Cullerton said Monday that the timing is right to legalize same-sex marriage, providing a glimpse of what’s ahead in the spring legislative session.

John Cullerton

Cullerton (D-Chicago), speaking to the City Club of Chicago, said he expects to call for a vote “very early on in the session” on the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which would grant gay and lesbian couples in Illinois the freedom to marry.

Advocates have been pushing for legislation that offers same-sex couples marriage rights currently only available to heterosexual couples, and are hoping to capitalize on momentum from other states and President Barack Obama’s support.

“We’re getting more support in the public every day,” Cullerton said.

The new legislative session begins Feb. 5, and with significant Democratic majorities in both legislative chambers, proponents are confident the measure will pass — likely in the first few weeks — and that Illinois will become the tenth state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Gov. Pat Quinn (D) supports the bill and has pledged to sign it if passed.

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