Illinois House committee to consider marriage equality bill Feb. 26

Illinois Capitol Building. Photo: Tony Merevick.

Illinois Capitol Building. Photo: Tony Merevick.

After a historic Valentine’s Day victory in the Senate last week, sponsoring lawmakers in the Illinois General Assembly told advocacy groups Wednesday they plan to bring the bill up for consideration in a House committee next Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Senate Bill 10, or the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, will be heard before the House Executive Committee Feb. 26 at 3 p.m., according to Rick Garcia, director of the Equal Marriage Illinois Project at The Civil Rights Agenda, a Chicago-based LGBT rights group.

The committee vote is the next hurdle the bill must overcome on its path to becoming law and needs at least six votes there before it is cleared to hit the full House floor.

Advocates are expecting success in the committee, which comprises seven Democrats and four Republicans, but anticipate a tougher road to the 60 “yes” votes required to pass the measure in the full House.

“We’re feeling very good about the votes for committee,” Anthony Martinez, executive director of TCRA, told Chicago Phoenix. “After speaking with most representatives, we’re looking at a good outcome. But like we said before, we never know for sure until the vote.”

Shortly after the bill passed through the Senate last week, Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), the bill’s chief sponsors in the General Assembly, said they expect the bill to come up for consideration in the House chamber in the coming weeks. Both contend the bill has a “very good” chance in the House following the landmark Senate approval.

Gov. Pat Quinn, a strong supporter of the bill, said he would quickly sign it into law once it gets to his desk.

Illinois would join nine other states that have legalized same-sex marriage – Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Connecticut, Vermont, Washington, New Hampshire, New York and Massachusetts.

Check out previous coverage of the battle for marriage equality in Illinois here.