Illinois lawmakers took another step on Tuesday toward legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. Members of the House Executive Committee voted 6-5 to move the “Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act” to a full vote on the House floor. The committee was scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday, but vigorous floor debate on concealed carry law kept the hearing from taking place until after 9:30 p.m.
The vote by the full House is expected as soon as proponents feel they have enough votes for passage, according to Capitol watchers, but it is believed they are still just short of a majority. Gov. Pat Quinn has said he will sign the law if it makes it to his desk.
A Crain’s/Ipsos poll released in February reported 50% of people in Illinois say they’re ready to become the tenth state to allow same-sex marriages. Only 29% are opposed, while 20% were unsure or reported mixed feelings on the issue. But many church leaders have continued to speak out against the legislation, even as the General Assembly inches closer and closer to final approval.
Christian leaders have expressed doubts that the religious liberties of churches will be protected if Illinois legalizes same-sex marriage. Some say the marriage bill could result in a “chilling effect” as churches seek to do effective ministry in their communities.
Read our Capitol coverage in the newest issue of the Illinois Baptist, online Thursday evening at www.ibonline.ibsa.org.