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Committee OKs Same-Sex Marriage Bill

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) - Illinois is a step closer to legalizing same-sex marriage, after the state Senate Executive Committee approved the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act by 8-5 vote.

The committee vote on Thursday sent to bill to the full Senate for a vote. Both houses of the Illinois Legislature are controlled by Democrats.

Same-sex couples were granted most of the legal rights of married couples when Illinois passed its civil unions law in 2010. But supporters say this bill is important because marriage carries a social legitimacy that civil unions lack.

Opponents claim the bill treads upon organized religions, by changing the definition of marriage.

The bill states that religious organizations do not have to sanctify or validate same-sex marriages.

Supporters want the bill pushed through the Legislature before Wednesday, when the lame-duck session ends. The civil unions bill also was passed in a lame-duck session.

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