Supporters of gay marriage staged a rally in Chicago on Saturday to protest the sudden defeat of a proposed marriage bill in the Illinois House.

On the final day of the regular session, Rep. Greg Harris, the bill's champion in the chamber, tearfully announced that he would not call the bill for a vote. A loud uproar was heard from the public gallery, where supporters were seated.

While Harris has all along refused to disclose a vote count, he had previously said that he would only call the bill when it had sufficient support to clear the chamber and last week he pledged he would call the bill for a vote. That led many to believe that the legislation, which cleared the Senate on Valentine's Day, would soon be headed to the desk of Governor Pat Quinn, who has pledged his signature.

Harris told colleagues on the House floor that he would call the legislation in November.

Speculation on what happened abounds, but at least one source quotes an unnamed source as saying that the measure lost 12 “yes” votes in the final days leading to Friday's meltdown.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the chamber's 20 African-America members were heavily targeted by a group of African-American clergy opposed to the proposed legislation. Only a handful of these lawmakers had publicly endorsed marriage equality.

At least one activist has blamed House Speaker Mike Madigan for the defeat.

“[I]f he had insisted on a positive vote from his caucus, it would have passed,” said Andy Thayer, a prominent Chicago-area LGBT rights activist.

At the evening rally, more than 50 supporters gathered at the corner of Halsted and Roscoe streets.

“This was so completely and totally outrageous,” said Rick Garcia of The Civil Rights Agenda. Garcia described the failure to vote on the bill as a “complete and total betrayal.”

“I don't know how much longer any of these people can wait,” Garcia added. “And they shouldn't have to wait.”

Supporters promised to stage more rallies in the coming weeks and months.