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.
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.