Sole Republican supports marriage equality
SPRINGFIELD – Love and equality won out in the Illinois Senate on Valentine’s Day. Lawmakers approved the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act by a vote of 34-21, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Champaign, was the sole member of the GOP supporting marriage equality. The bill now heads to the Illinois House. Illinois State Sens. Heather Stearns and David Koehler were its sponsors.
“[The] vote is nothing short of historic – the passage of marriage equality in the Senate marks the furthest a marriage bill has ever advanced in the Illinois General Assembly,” HRC President Chad Griffin said an email to supporters Thursday.
Griffin also marveled at the growing number of unlikely GLBT allies, including Ebony and Jet publisher Linda Johnson Rice. Rice penned pro-marriage equality op-ed in Chicago Tribune’s Valentine ’s Day edition.
“We know in our hearts that none of us get ahead when some of us are stuck with second-class status,” Johnson Rice wrote.
WGN-TV reported the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act could have a tougher time getting the Illinois House. A vote could possibly happen next month. If passed, Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn has hinted he’d sign it.
Openly gay Illinois state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, spearheaded the legislation and serves as its chief House sponsor. Fellow state Reps. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago; Kelly M. Cassidy, D-Chicago; Ann Williams, D-Chicago; and Naomi Jakobsson, D-Champaign served as co-sponsors.