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Rep. Harris eying lame duck session for marriage push
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2012-11-01

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Gay state Rep. Greg Harris has a message for LGBTs and their allies: start calling your Illinois lawmakers and telling them you support marriage equality.

Harris, who introduced a marriage equality bill (Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act) in February, says it is only a matter of time before the bill is up for a vote, and that time could come sooner than expected.

"We have some opportunities to move legislation in the veto session and we just need to be prepared," said Harris.

Lawmakers are headed into a lame duck veto session later this month, a rare opportunity for the General Assembly to pass difficult legislation.

Harris declined to offer predictions on how much support is already in place for marriage equality or if and when he might push for a vote on the bill. Much will depend on Tuesday's election, he said.

"Time is certainly with us," he said. "We're just right on the edge."

Lawmakers will likely watch local and presidential elections when considering where voters are on marriage equality. Strong support for pro-LGBT candidates on Tuesday could weigh positively on undecided lawmakers.

But, Harris said, he will not call for a vote without strong support for the bill, which would risk locking legislators into "no" votes down the road.

"You do not want to call it up and lose," he said.

Regardless, said Harris, LGBTs should start talking to their legislators now as a vote on marriage equality is on the horizon for Illinois.


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