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Ill. State Rep Marries Partner

Ill. State Rep Marries Partner

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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.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.