An Illinois Senate committee has
approved a bill which seeks to make Illinois the 10th
state to legalize gay marriage.
The 15-member Senate Executive
Committee approved the bill and sent it to the full Senate for
A representative from Lambda Legal
testifying in support of the bill countered the arguments of
opponents, saying nothing in the measure forces a church to marry gay
The action came a day after Senator
David Koehler, a Democrat from Peoria, added himself as a chief
co-sponsor of the bill.
Illinois Senate President John
Cullerton, a Democrat from Chicago and an Executive Committee member,
has said he wants his chamber to approve the bill on Valentine's Day.
“I'd like to pass it … on
Valentine's Day,” Cullerton told the Chicago Sun-Times last
Cullerton added that he believes the
measure has the necessary 30 votes to clear the Senate and move to
Sponsors of the bill, Senator Heather
Steans and Rep. Greg Harris, both Democrats from Chicago, first
pushed for passage in January during a lame-duck session of the
Steans suggested that the bill's
language regarding religious exemptions was to blame for last month's
“I think under the language we're
working on, everyone is a lot more comfortable there's no threat of a
religious place having to open up to a religious ceremony if they
don't want to,” Steans told the Sun-Times.