A second Republican state representative in Illinois has come out in support of the state’s pending marriage equality bill, citing his mother-in-law’s same-sex relationship as one reason for his decision.
Rep. Ed Sullivan Jr. of Mundelein, a northern suburb of Chicago, told the Chicago Tribune Sunday that he will support the legislation, which has already been passed by the state Senate. Gov. Pat Quinn has said he will sign it into law.
“The first reaction from people might be, ‘Well, he might be voting for that just because of his mother-in-law,’” Sullivan said. “The reality is, because my mother-in-law is gay, I have more of an understanding and familiarity with same-sex couples.” Sullivan, however, had opposed the state’s civil unions bill, which passed in 2010.
Rep. Ron Sandack of Downers Grove, another Chicago suburb, is the only other House Republican to have endorsed the marriage equality bill. Sullivan said he believes others among the 47 Republicans in the chamber will come around to supporting the measure.
“There is tremendous momentum leading up to this vote,” he told the Tribune. “I think we’re very close. There’s many of my colleagues that have talked about this, that have said it’s the right thing to do.”
There are 71 Democrats in the House; with a majority of them supporting marriage equality, the bill is within about a dozen votes of the 60 it needs to pass. Chief House sponsor Greg Harris has said he will not call a vote on it unless he is confident the 60 votes are there. The House returns from a two-week recess today.