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U.S. Congress members from Ill. urge state lawmakers to approve marriage bill

U.S. Congress members from Ill. urge state lawmakers to approve marriage bill

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Seven U.S. Congress members from Illinois are urging state lawmakers in Springfield to support a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

U.S. Reps. Luis Gutierrez, Danny Davis, Mike Quigley, Jan Schakowsky, Tammy Duckworth, Brad Schneider and Bill Foster — all Democrats — have sent a letter to the Illinois General Assembly, calling for “basic legal protections to all Illinois families.”

The letter cites growing public support for marriage equality, and urges lawmakers to “vote yes” on SB 10.

“This bill will strengthen Illinois families by allowing individuals who love each other to enter into the joys and benefits of legal marriage. And, importantly, it will provide strong safeguards for religious institutions to follow their own beliefs with respect for marriage.”

The state Senate has already approved the measure allowing same-sex couples to marry, but the bill awaits a House floor vote.

House Speaker Michael Madigan said Wednesday passing it will be “very difficult,” as the bill is currently a dozen votes shy in the House.

Advocates have amped up pressure on lawmakers recently with support from business leaders and some religious groups. However, some religious leaders — including Cardinal Francis George of Chicago — are opposed to the idea.

Gov. Pat Quinn has said he would approve gay marriage if it comes to his desk.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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