Illinois Senator Heather Steans, the sponsor of a gay marriage bill in the Senate, believes the prospect of legalizing such unions in the upcoming session is “great.”

Appearing on The Young Turks, Steans told Cenk Uygur that public opinion has changed dramatically in just the two years since Illinois approved civil unions.

“As I'm talking to members, people have really come along,” Steans said. “You know, we passed civil unions here two years ago. And the nature of the conversations I'm having with my colleagues just two years later is very different. I think there's really been a sea change of public opinion on this. Every day we see more people supporting what's fair under our laws and treating everybody the same. So, it's been very encouraging and heartening.”

Steans stressed that her bill does not change the definition of religious marriage.

“I think it's important to understand first [that] this is civil marriage we're talking about. We're not changing the definition of religious marriage. … This really is civil marriage. Churches can choose to solemnize or not, or any faith can. But no one who does not want to has to.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

The General Assembly's spring session begins February 5.