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Tuesday, June 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

In Illinois, a Push to Legalize Gay Marriage

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) - Less than a year after Illinois civil unions law took effect, the state's three openly gay lawmakers are pushing for a new law that would legalize same-sex marriage.

The bill, filed in the House, would mandate that "all laws of this State applicable to marriage apply equally to marriages of same-sex and different-sex couples and their children." It also requires that same-sex married couples be included in the definitions of all legal terms including spouse, family, immediate family, dependent, next of kin, wife, husband, bride, groom and any other terms that refer to a spousal relationship.

Chicago Democrats Greg Harris, Deborah Mell and Kelly Cassidy sponsored the bill. They are currently the legislature's only openly gay members, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The civil unions law took affect last year and granted same sex couples the same legal rights as married couples, but stopped short of calling it marriage. Opponents of that bill feared this - that it would lead to the legalization of same sex marriage.

It is unclear whether the bill has a good chance of passage. The civil unions bill barely passed in a lame duck session and was supported by some outgoing lawmakers who wouldn't face election again.

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