Talk of legalizing gay marriage in
Illinois will return to Springfield next week as the General
Assembly's six-day fall session opens on Tuesday.
The Illinois Senate approved a bill
that seeks to make Illinois the 14th state to legalize gay
nuptials on Valentine's Day and Governor Pat Quinn has pledged his
signature. Supporters, however, were dumbfounded in May when Rep.
Greg Harris, the measure's champion in the House, decided against
seeking a roll call on the bill, promising he would do so during the fall
The decision divided gay activists,
with some saying that win or lose a vote was needed to identify and
react accordingly to supporters and opponents.
But as the session nears, passage this
year appears increasingly unlikely.
Harris has not disclosed how many, if
any, additional votes he has secured over the summer.
On Monday, the Chicago
Sun-Times quoted Rick Garcia, policy director of The Civil
Rights Agenda, as saying that passage remains elusive, and that the
political calendar might make the issue a non-starter during the
The session's November 7 end leaves
sufficient time, three weeks, for opponents to mount primary
challenges against House members who vote for gay nuptials.
“That's what the holdup is,” Garcia
told the paper.
Bob Gilligan, executive director of the
Catholic Conference of Illinois, which opposes Harris' legislation,
added: “Legislators have to respond to their constituents in their
districts, and in many legislative districts, it's an issue that's
Harris could decide to wait it out
until the House reconvenes in January, after the threat of primary
challengers has passed.