A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois did not come up for a vote in the Illinois House. The sponsor, State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), tearfully told his peers and guests in the gallery that there would be no vote. With the bill having passed the Senate earlier in the session, this was viewed as an upset to many.
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State Rep. Deb Mell (R- Chicago) stood and spoke with her wife by her side that they are just like every heterosexual couple. “Today we were hoping that our state could give our union the highest recognition that society gives to people who want to build a life together, and that’s marriage, and so I’m disappointed,” Mell said. The couple married in Iowa, where same-sex marriage is legal.
State Rep. David McSweeney (D-Barrington Heights) says he would have voted no, believing marriage should be limited to a man and a woman, but commends the sponsor. “He did a phenomenal job on the floor. So did (State Rep) Deb Mell. A very emotional speech. He is someone determined to move forward and he’s the only one who can make that decision,” McSweeney said.
Jim Bennett, chairman of the Illinois Unites for Marriage Coalition, says this is an embarrassing situation the state is in. “We have children that have gay and lesbian parents and they’re made to feel like second-class citizens in their school, and we will work every day until this is corrected,” Bennett said.
The Catholic Conference of Illinois responded to the no vote by saying the state’s bishops have fought hard to “preserve religious, legal and cultural understanding of marriage as God and nature intended.” Their statement says the conference offers “prayerful support” to “our brothers and sisters who have same-sex attraction.”