Ill. State Rep Marries Partner
BY Trudy Ring
August 31 2011 5:56 PM ET
Illinois state representative Deborah Mell has become the state’s first high-profile elected official to legally marry a same-sex spouse.
Mell (pictured, right) and Christin Baker (left) were married last week by a judge in Davenport, Iowa, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. While Iowa has marriage equality, Illinois offers gay couples only civil unions — and the couple’s marriage will be recognized as a civil union in their home state.
“Our relationship deserves marriage,” Mell told the Sun-Times Tuesday. “That’s how I feel about it. I mean there was a time in our relationship where it just wasn’t right to call Christin my ‘partner’ or my ‘friend’ ... or even my ‘civil-unionized partner.’ You know she’s my wife. ... We deserve those titles, those rights.”
That didn’t keep Mell from arguing passionately for the civil unions bill, which the state legislature approved last year and Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law in January. The law went into effect in June. Mell had announced her engagement to Quinn on the state House floor last year, and she has observed that the presence of out legislators to personalize the issue helped build support for the bill.
Mell, 43, has been a state representative from a Chicago district since 2009. Baker, 36, is a national director for the YMCA. They have been together for seven years. They are planning to have an Episcopal religious ceremony next week to bless their union.
- Multiple Attacks on Gay Men in NYC, Hours After Rally
- Father of Teen Facing Felony for Lesbian Relationship Says She's Been Targeted Before
- WATCH: President Obama Tells Morehouse Grads 'Be the Best Husband to Your Boyfriend'
- French Marriage Equality Opponent Commits Suicide at Notre Dame
- Illinois Will Pass Marriage Equality Bill, Sponsor Says
- Op-ed: Religion Shouldn't Be an Excuse for Discrimination
Sign Up For Email Updates
- Women WATCH: Kathy Griffin Calls for Suze Orman for President! 56 min 7 sec ago
- Marriage Equality Marriage Equality Makes Progress in U.K. 59 min 52 sec ago
- Women PHOTOS: Stars Come Out for the LA Gay and Lesbian Center's 'An Evening with Women' 1 hour 21 min ago
- Video Meet the Delicious Diet Dr Pepper Dude 1 hour 25 min ago
- Women INTERVIEW: Vicci Martinez Speaks her Truth 2 hours 50 min ago
- Politics Neither Democrats Nor Republicans Pleased With Virginia's GOP Lt. Gov. Nominee 5:39 PM
- Entertainment News Bling King: Liberace Car, Piano on View in NYC 5:22 PM