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No marriage vote in Springfield this week--UPDATE
Updated 5:30 p.m., Jan. 3, 2013
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2013-01-03

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UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: The bill passed by an 8-5 vote out of the Senate Executive Committee Thursday evening.

For the latest update, click on the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Illinois-marriage-bill-stalled-pushed-to-next-general-assembly/41040.html

The fate of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage has been called into question after Senate Democrats reported that the bill will not come to a vote this week.

Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda, confirmed that Senate Democrats have stated that the vote will not come to pass Jan. 3 or 4.

Repeated foibles have raised serious questions about whether the vote can pass by Jan. 9, when new lawmakers are sworn in.

Senate Democrats had hoped for a vote on Thursday, but they failed to secure the votes to waive a 24-hour rule on the posting of the original marriage bill. Democrats then tacked marriage equality onto an unrelated bill in an attempt to push it through faster.

On Thursday afternoon, testimony was heard in the executive committee both for and against the amendment.

The reason a full Senate vote is not expected this week is because two supportive senators—Republican Suzi Schmidt of Lake Villa and Democrat James Clayborne of Belleville—have been called away from Springfield on family emergencies, leaving sponsors scrambling to secure needed votes. (Schmidt's mother died and there was an illness in Clayborne's family.)

Also missing is Evanston Democrat Jeffrey Shoenberg, who is reportedly on vacation for the remainder of his term.

"It doesn't mean that the whole marriage equality bill in the lame duck session dies," said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois.

However, a big push remains for supportive senators.

The Senate will have to be called back for a special session on Jan. 8 if they are take up marriage equality before Jan. 9. That would mean that the House will be voting on marriage before the Senate takes it up.

The House is scheduled to convene Jan. 6-7. It remains uncertain if the House will be voting on the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act or another bill that now contains an amendment legalizing same-sex marriage.

Supportive lawmakers tacked the marriage bill into a bill that deals with car insurance in hopes of pushing it through faster.

The repeated delays have dampened enthusiasm in Springfield, with questions being raised about whether or not the bill will come to a vote this session at all. The House is seen as a greater hurdle than the Senate, and repeated hiccups in the Senate have raised concerns about support for the measure.

This is a breaking story. Check back regularly for updates.


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