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Illinois Approves|Same-Sex Marriage

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) - Illinois lacks only the governor's promised signature to become the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Illinois House approved the bill Tuesday by 61-54-2 vote.

The state Senate approved the bill in February and reapproved it later Tuesday, to include the House amendments.

Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has vowed to sign bill, which will take affect June 1.

"Today the Illinois House put our state on the right side of history," Quinn said in a statement.

Supporters call it an important step in the civil rights movement.

Opponents claim it infringes on the religious rights of people who oppose gay marriage but will be forced to accept it in their businesses and churches or face discrimination lawsuits. They claimed that businesses such as caterers and photographers unintentionally ran afoul of discrimination laws for refusing to work at same-sex marriages in other states that have legalized it.

The bill's sponsor Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, attached an amendment strengthening the right of churches and private entities to decline hosting gay marriage ceremonies. Harris is one of several openly gay members of the Illinois Legislature.

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