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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Marriage bill to be heard in committee Tuesday
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2013-02-04

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Wasting no time moving forward on plans to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois, sponsors of the measure will move the bill to the Senate Executive Tuesday, LGBT groups confirm.

The Senate is due back in session Tuesday for the first time since taking office in January.

Sponsor Heather Steans had said she expected to move the bill shortly after senators returned to Springfield Feb. 5. Senate President John Cullerton wants a full Senate vote on the bill on Valentine's Day, he announced.

Illinois Unites for Marriage, a coalition of LGBT groups pushing the measure, has hired a number of field organizers to push for the bill's passage.

Randy Hannig of Equality Illinois said that sponsors are aiming pass the bill through both houses within the coming weeks.

"We've had time to reflect in the last few weeks," said Hannig. "We're confident that now is the time to pass the marriage bill, not just out of the Senate but out of the House as well."

Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda, said that the bill could be heard in both houses by month's end. He said that supporters are confident of the bill's fate in committee tomorrow.

"We'd like to get it done as soon as possible," Martinez said. "We are very pleased that they're planning on taking up the bill tomorrow."

Hannig said sponsors are finalizing the language of the bill. Religious leaders hesitated over a first draft of the measure, which sponsors fell short of passing during the lame duck session last month. New lawmakers were sworn in last month, and sponsors immediately reintroduced the bill.

This time around, the bill could face less opposition as Democrats now have a wide majority in both houses.

The bill is bound for the Senate Executive Committee at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.

Windy City Times will provide details as they become available.


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