A new video from Illinois Unites for Marriage offers a heartbreaking and compelling case for why the state can't wait for marriage equality to become a reality. In the brief video, Robert Smith recalls his late partner, Steven Rynes, who lost his battle with melanoma before the couple could be legally married in their home state.
The heartbreaking video is the first published by the activism group hoping to sway Illinois legislators into voting for marriage equality during the legislature's upcoming veto session, to take place this fall. A marriage equality bill introduced by gay state lawmaker Greg Harris was passed by the Senate but failed to come to a vote in the House during the regular legislative session, which wrapped in May. Announcing the news, Harris tearfully promised that the bill would get a vote — and soon.
"He wanted one thing in his whole life, and that was to get married and he didn't get it," Smith says of his partner in the heart-wrenching video. "And he will never get it now. And I don't think they realize that we're real people. Thousands of us have probably missed out just in Illinois. I don't understand the problem. People are dying without being equal. Civil unions are not marriage. A different title does not mean it's the same thing. You have a group of people that you call something different, and yes, everybody's gonna think they're different. And we're not, really."
Watch the video below.