The Illinois House is expected to
debate a gay marriage bill on Friday, the last day of the regular
The proposed legislation, which stalled
in the House after clearing the Senate on Valentine's Day, has the
support of Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, who has pledged his
On Thursday, groups lobbying for
passage of the measure announced a Marriage Equality Rally to take
place at the State House starting at 11AM Friday. Illinois Unites
for Marriage was offering free passage to Springfield for activists
“FREE buses from Chicago to our
marriage rally in Springfield tomorrow morning!” the group tweeted.
Appearing in Chicago on Wednesday,
President Barack Obama referenced the bill.
“Here in Illinois, we've got a vote
on same-sex marriage that's going to be coming up in the state
Legislature,” Obama told donors at a fundraiser. “And I just
want to say for the record it's something that I deeply support. I
wrestled with this for a long time and I am absolutely convinced it
is the right thing to do.”
Meanwhile, opponents of the legislation
called on lawmakers to reject the bill.
In an open letter to House members, the
conservative Thomas More Society said that the bill “provides a
disaster for religious liberty, no matter which side of the same-sex
marriage debate that one supports.”
The group lamented the bill's lack of
religious exemptions for individuals and businesses.
“SB 10 provides no protections for
individuals who make their living by providing goods and services for
the celebration of weddings, such as cake bakers, florists, and venue
letter states. “Under SB 10, people of faith running these
businesses would be faced with the choice of either closing their
business or facilitating a ceremony that violates their religious
If the marriage law is approved,
Illinois would become the 13th state to legalize such
unions, the fourth this year and only the third in the Midwest.