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Ill. governor uses ‘State of the State’ address to call for marriage equality

Ill. governor uses ‘State of the State’ address to call for marriage equality

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Gov. Pat Quinn told the Illinois state legislature on Wednesday that it’s time for Illinois to approve legislation to allow gays and lesbians the freedom to marry.

The Chicago Democrat framed the issue as a measure against discrimination during his annual State of the State address on Wednesday. He praised senators who moved a bill out of committee earlier this week and says it’s time to pass the bill so Illinois can achieve “full equality.”

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn delivers his State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly at the Illinois State Capitol Wednesday.
Photo: Seth Perlman, Associated Press

On Tuesday, a Senate committee voted in favor of the measure despite Republicans’ concerns that it will force resistant religious organizations to open their parish halls and fellowship centers — if not their sanctuaries — to gays and lesbians seeking marriage ceremonies.

Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), predicts the body’s 40-Democrat majority will find the 30 votes necessary to make Illinois the 10th state to give marital rights to same-sex couples.

Cullerton said he wants a Valentine’s Day floor vote next week.

If Illinois approves the same-sex marriage bill, it would become the 10th state in the nation to do so. Advocates say momentum in other states and President Barack Obama’s support fuel their efforts in Illinois.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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