Applause erupted in the Senate chamber when the same-sex marriage bill passed. Leslie Fotre-Leach of Rochester, Ill., a visitor in the gallery, cried with elation. “I’m just a mom. I have two boys and I am here because I want equal rights for both of my boys. And today is the start of my younger son getting the same rights as my older son,” Forte-Leach said.
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Sasha Mehlhase, a Chicago resident originally from Germany, also has a personal reason for wanting the bill to pass. “It will impact me, myself, because I’m gay. And I am actually married to my husband; we got married in New York. So, I hope that our match will get recognized in our home state where we live,” Mehlhase said. The Senate passed the bill with 34-21, with two senators voting present and two absent. The measure now goes to the Illinois House.