Illinois State Rep. Deborah Mell, a
Democrat from Chicago, married last week in Iowa, the
Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The 43-year-old Mell becomes the first
high-profile elected official in Illinois to enter a marriage with a
person of the same sex.
Mell and Christin Baker, 36, married on
Wednesday in Davenport, Iowa after a 7 year engagement. Baker serves
as a national director for the Young Men's Christian Association
The couple passed on Illinois'
recently-approved civil union law for a marriage license in Iowa.
“Our relationship deserves marriage,”
Mell told the paper. “That's how I feel about it. I mean there
was a time in our relationship where it just wasn't right to call
Christin my 'partner' or my 'friend' … or even my 'civil-unionized
partner.' You know she's my wife. … We deserve those titles, those
However, the couple's marriage will
become a civil union under Illinois law, said Christopher Clark,
senior staff attorney for Lambda Legal, a leading legal group that
fights for LGBT rights.
The couple will hold a blessing
ceremony in Chicago next week.