A gay marriage bill arrived in the
Illinois Senate on Thursday tacked on as an amendment to a rental car
The unusual vehicle became a necessity
after a stand-alone bill failed to clear a critical committee on
Wednesday night. A solid wall of opposition from Republican
lawmakers coupled with key absences among Democratic supporters
killed the effort.
Supporters quickly regrouped, calling
the loss a setback, not a defeat.
The bill's champion, Senator Heather
Steans, a Democrat from Chicago, attached the marriage equality
measure as an amendment to a bill already scheduled for a committee
vote, House Bill 4963, which deals with the automobile rental
industry, Chicago gay weekly Windy
City Media Group reported.
The Senate's lame-duck session, which
includes outgoing members, is scheduled to end Friday. House members
will convene their 3-day special session on Sunday. A new
legislative session begins Wednesday, January 9.
Meanwhile, Pat Brady, the chairman of
the Illinois state Republican Party, on Wednesday endorsed the effort
to make Illinois the 10th state to extend marriage rights
to gay and lesbian couples.
“More and more Americans understand
that if two people want to make a lifelong commitment to each other,
government should not stand in their way,” Brady told the Chicago
Sun-Times. “Giving gay and lesbian couples the freedom to
get married honors the best conservative principles. It strengthens
and reinforces a key Republican value – that the law should treat
all citizens equally.”