Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston cast one of the 34 votes it took today to get a bill that would legalize gay marriage through the Illinois Senate.

By Benjamin Yount

Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston cast one of the 34 votes it took today to get a bill that would legalize gay marriage through the Illinois Senate on Valentine’s Day.

Thirty-three Democrats and one Republican joined in the Valentine’s Day vote to send the marriage measure to the Illinois House.

Chicago State Rep. Greg Harris, the House sponsor of the bill, says he does not know when the House will vote on same sex marriage, but he expects it will pass.

Republicans and some downstate Democrats argued against the proposal, not solely because of an opposition to same sex marriage but because of what they see as unanswered questions about the bill’s impact on churches and religious schools or hospitals.

Biss, a co-sponsor of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, hailed the Senate’s approval of the measure.

During the debate, he said his 4-year-old son Elliot is open and accepting now.

“Unfortunately,” Biss added, “Elliot may spend the next decade bombarded by signals telling him that same-sex couples aren’t legitimate or entitled to equal rights. These signals will come from popular culture, from peers in school and from adults. Today the Senate took a stand and said those signals will no longer come from the State of Illinois.”

Gov. Pat Quinn applauded the Senate for its vote, and said the House should act quickly. Quinn has said for months he will sign a same sex marriage law, assuming it reaches his desk.

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  1. Just like the federal government

    On an issue like  this, why are the democrats afraid to let the people of Illinois vote on a major change. I'm sure that this was done in the same manner that obamacare was passed – all politics.

    1. All politics

      "On an issue like  this, why are the democrats afraid to let the people of Illinois vote on a major change. I'm sure that this was done in the same manner that obamacare was passed – all politics."

      The Illinois constitution provides for referendums (initiatives) on constitutional amendments, but not on marriage statutes – so your first sentence is nonsense.

      The same is true for the US Constitutuion.  'Obamacare'  – like all Federal laws – was passed by a majority of both houses of Congress and signed by the President.  

      You seem to be upset because nobody got your permission before writing these laws…but that's the way representative government works.

      1. That is the way that

        That is the way that government works in Illinois is what you meant to say. In other states, where voters have input into the process via public referendum votes, same sex marriage has been losing with regularity — even in California. What's the current count when the public votes? Thirty-one to nine? The Democratic sponsors of this legislation zipped their lips until after the November election was over (deja vu since that is the same tactic applied for civil unions) and tried to ram through this bill during the lame duck session. They did not have the courage to announce their plans until after the election was over. Don't fool yourself, many of the Democrats supporting this law did so for money.

        1. Facts refute your point

          If you paid attention to public votes, the tide has turned.  

          While true that in the past marriage equality lost often – overwhelmingly in 2004 (over 8 years ago), in the 2012 election all 4 ballot initiatives regarding marriage equality WON.  That's why Maryland and Washington now have voter-approved marriage equality.  Maine voters approved keeping an existing law to allow for marriage equality.  Finally, Minnesota rejected an attempt to limit marriage to a man and a woman.  4 votes in 2012.  4 results for marriage equality and all refuting your point.

          If you're going to argue an already weak point, try to at least get the facts right.

          It sure feels good to have America moving to the side of freedom and equality instead of prejudice.  

      2. Good Idea

        We should have a constitutional referenddum and let the people decide. It has been done in 35 states already. 32 have said no to gay marriage and 3 have said yes. That does not mean that it would not pass in Illinois but it would take the politics out of it, maybe.

        That is the way democracy should work.

        1. referendum is not (American) democracy

          Referrenda are among the most politicized aspects of our constitutional democracy.  With NO restrictions on election advertising (Citizens United) people with money and power have not only the ability, but also the constitutionally protected right to confuse the voters.  Research California.  Their referendum process is out of control.

          Paid workers to get signatures and all these organizations doing all kinds of focus group research about how to write a confusing ballot initiative becasue when people get confused, they vote no.  So they write these absurd initiatives designed to confuse.  Now if there were some state organization that vetted the wording and so forth it owuld be a good start, but voting is politics and citizen voting is the most ocmplicated.

          And, by the way, we are a representative constitutional democracy.  That has built-in protections for small, politically-marginalized communities because we recognized (at least when the constitution when writted) how the tyrrany of the majority works.  LGBT folks are perhaps 10% of the population.  The classic minority interest that our tripartate system was concevied to protect.  

          No. no.  no.  It seems so fair to say "let's just vote" but it is a lot more complicated than that.

          1. choice

            It sounds like you would consider the out-in-the-open corruption of the Illinois governor's office and the state legislature is a better way to go than letting the people vote.

            Sounds like a strange choice

  2. Then the governor and legislature can take the next step

    As soon as they pass the bill they can move on to making pologemy legal.

    After all the arguments are the same—love, commitment [this time to more than one  person—larger families to take care of the kids.

    They can also void any laws against adultury—including consideration in divorce actions—since it is also just an alternative form of showing love.

    1. Doing well

      You were doing well until you typed the word "soon."  After that you really spiralled out of control.

  3. Why do we need to vote on a

    Why do we need to vote on a civil right? Every American should have the same rights as others. This blanket discrimination must stop. The bigots that hide behind religion also should read the bible. Christ never mentioned gay marriage, but did mention – several times – divorce, but the sanctimonous opponents of gay marriage ignore what He did say because it doesn't work for them.

    1. Matthew 19:4-6…Jesus pretty

      Matthew 19:4-6…Jesus pretty clearly defining what marriage is and who it's between. The BIblical model is one man, one woman, for life.

      1. Jefferson’s Bible in new form ?

        The comment about Jesus never talking about gay marriage miss what he said about a marriage and widely about sin and perversion.  Also look at what Romans and other books of the New Testament say about even homosexual acts.

        Thomas Jefferson cut out the parts of the Bible that had anything to do miracles and that did not fit 'his views.' He wanted a religion of 'Jesus meek and mild' and of course had to thrown out anything about sin, judgement, or anything he did not 'like.'

        It sounds like those who promote gay marriage and homosexual life styles have done the same.  [Unfortunately so have politicians who say they are sound Catholics and other groups].

        They are free to form their own religion and call it something different but not Christianity—you can't just pick and choose.  Most likey they should each call it 'My Religion' and not expect anyone else to abide by the tenants they have—slavery, explotation, child labor, theft, murder, etc. would be o.k. if they 'believed'' it o.k. and could get away with it.

        Like it they are pretty much left with libertaninism or something like Ayn Rand's philosophy.

      2. Context

        I always thought that answer was given in direct response to the very direct question asked in Matthew 19:3 – "“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"  Jesus responded, directly referring to a man and wife, seemingly because the question directly asked referred to a man and his wife.  Had he been asked by the Pharisees "Jesus, can same sex couples unite under the eyes of God, or the State of Illinois?"  Then you might have an argument.

        At first, I was angry with your post.  You took the word of your God out of context to use to your own advantage.  But now I forgive you – because that's what Jesus would have done.

        1. Not everyone

          I am not knocking those who follow the script. But this is not about the bible or god. This is about rights. I do not follow or belong to a religion. I do not want to be governed by a religion. All I want is my rights as the same as the rest of the country. The world won't come to an end. People won't be marrying their pets and church's will still be standing. I do not have the right nor does anyone to vote on my neighbors civil liberties regardless of my  or their beliefs. 

          1. Bible banging

            "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…"

            I agree –  bible banging has no place here.

        2. Read the whole context and more than one passage

          While I don't want to get into proof texting, a couple of passages should give you something to find your own context. You said "I forgive you – because that's what Jesus would have done." Jesus and in fact the whole Bible teaches that man has sinned and must come back to God. It is clear there is judgement for those that don't obey. The "Jesus meek and mild'" view completely misses the truth. The Bible teaches that "God so loved the world" but then sets what man's reaction to that must be. God did not offer a menu for people to decide what they want—that was the original sin of Eden. God said "this is what is' and failure brings judgement. If people don't like it, they are free to found their own religion but to call it Jewish or Christian is not honest. If they don't want to believe, they take their chances but as in Pascal's Wage [actually the converse], if your wrong [and God does not exist or care what we do] the price is "very high." Leviticus 20:13 "'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. Romans 1:27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Mark 10:6-9 "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

          1. I have seen the light…

            Don't want to get into proof texting?  I know what that means, Pastor Highbrow, and will argue that you're doing it by posting Mark 10:6-9 without posting Mark 10:4-5.

            And what it G-d's name are you suggesting by posting Leviticus 20:13?

            Metallica 5:3 Gossip burning on the tip of your tongue. You lie so much you believe yourself. Judge not l'est ye be judged yourself.

            Just keep your bible out of my government.

      3. We cannot with definitive

        We cannot with definitive evidence prove anything that is written in the bible. However, there is plenty of proof of gay couples that have spent years together in loving relationships. How exactly does my marriage to my partner of 13 years affect you???

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