On the first day of the 2013 session, Illinois state senator Heather Steans and state representative Greg Harris introduced marriage equality legislation in both the House and Senate, reports Illinois-based LGBT group the Civil Rights Agenda. Similar legislation was introduced and passed a Senate committee in the final weeks of the 2012 session, but the legislature closed without a vote on the bill.
The legislation, known as the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, is set to be filed in the House and Senate today, shortly after members of the 98th General Assembly are sworn in this morning, according to Equality Illinois.
"Last week, the Senate Executive Committee made history by approving same-sex marriage and gave our efforts incredible momentum," Steans said in a statement released by Equality Illinois. "With the full support of Senate President John Cullerton, I am confident legislators will grant all Illinois couples the freedom to marry this year."
The bill enjoys bipartisan legal support, expressed by GOP chairman Pat Brady, who said last week that "giving gay and lesbian couples the freedom to get married honors the best conservative principles. It strengthens families and reinforces a key Republican value — that the law should treat all citizens equally," according to the Equality Illinois release.
Illinois governor Pat Quinn is supportive of the legislation and is expected to sign the bill. President Obama, a former Illinois state and U.S. senator, endorsed marriage equality in his home state at the end of 2012, marking the first time in his presidency that he has become involved in a state-level legislative campaign.