Today an Illinois Senate committee approved a marriage equality bill by a vote of 9-5, advancing it to the full Senate, where a vote is expected February 14.
"It should be a very welcome Valentine's Day gift for the thousands of couples and families that are anxiously awaiting the passage of this bill," said Rick Garcia, director of the Equal Marriage Illinois Project and senior policy adviser for the Civil Rights Agenda, an Illinois LGBT advocacy group. "The momentum continues to build in Illinois."
If approved by the full Senate, the bill will go to the House of Representatives, and if passed there, to Gov. Pat Quinn, who has said he will sign it. It would make Illinois the 10th state with marriage equality and the second in the Midwest.
Today in the House, Bloomington resident Danielle Cook testified that she and her partner, Suzie Hutton, need the law to "make our lives more complete," the Chicago Tribune reports. Ministers also testified both for and against the legislation.
A Senate committee had approved a version of the measure last month, just before the legislative session ended, and backers concluded there were not enough supporters in the full Senate to pass it before the session was over. The new legislature, seated shortly thereafter, has a greater number of LGBT rights supporters.