Representatives Greg Harris, Deb Mell
and Kelly Cassidy on Wednesday introduced a gay marriage bill in the
Illinois General Assembly, Chicago gay weekly Windy
City Times reported.
Harris was the primary sponsor of
legislation last year that created civil unions for gay and lesbian
The move comes a day after a federal
court ruled unconstitutional California's gay marriage ban,
Proposition 8, and on the day the Washington House approved a gay
marriage bill and sent it to Governor Chris Gregoire for her
signature. Gregoire has said she looks forward to signing the bill
Citing increasing support for marriage
equality, Harris told the AP that Illinois could become the next
state to legalize marriage for gay couples.
“The numbers all tell the same story
– that in the last year, for the first time, the majority of
Americans believe in full marriage equality,” said Harris.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed last
year's civil unions bill into law and is a supporter of marriage
Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of gay rights
group Equality Illinois, cheered the news, saying that while civil
unions were an important step forward, only marriage could provide
“Separate is not equal,” he said.