Illinois closer to passing same-sex marriage

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ILLINOIS - Two Illinois lawmakers say they are close to getting enough votes to pass a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state of Illinois.

Local activists are hopeful that State Rep. Greg Harris will be able to get enough votes in the House to pass the bill. Twenty years ago, activists said passing this bill would have never been possible.

"Marriage equality was never even on the radar when we started," Quad Citians Affirming Diversity worker Joyce Wiley said. "It would be huge. It's another step in equality."

Outgoing State House Rep. Rich Morthland would also have to vote on the bill if it's brought up in the lame-duck session. He would rather have Illinois residents vote on it in a referendum instead of having it passed now.

"I think the people deserve to have their own say," Morthland said. "I am also a fan of more traditional forms of marriage."

Nine other states already allow gay marriage. Iowa is one of them, and even if the state passed the bill, Wiley says her work to bring diversified groups of people together will continue.

"You have to change the culture of communities," Wiley said. "The laws don't help the kids in school that still get teased."

The legislature needs 60 votes in the House and 30 votes in the Senate in order to pass in this lame-duck session. Governor Pat Quinn said Monday that he would sign the bill if it came to his desk. The legislation is HB 5170.