In front of a crowd of thousands at the University of Illinois at Chicago's UIC Forum, Governor Pat Quinn today signed historic legislation making Illinois the 16th state in the nation to embrace full marriage equality. The legislation permits all couples in the Land of Lincoln to receive the rights and protections of marriage.
As part of his agenda to ensure Illinois embraces all people, Governor Quinn made marriage equality a top legislative priority this year, featuring it in his 2013 State of the State address.
"This new law is an epic victory for equal rights in America," Governor Quinn said. "Illinois is moving forward. We are a model for our country. If the Land of Lincoln can achieve marriage equality, so can every other state in the nation."
Governor Quinn pushed for marriage equality throughout the 2013 legislative session. In 2011, the Governor signed into law historic civil union legislation. Since then, more than 6,000 couples from across Illinois have joined in a civil union.
Senate Bill 10, sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and State Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago), requires that all Illinois laws pertaining to civil marriage must apply equally to all couples. The law will guarantee equal access to status, benefits, protections, rights and responsibilities for all couples entering into marriage and their families. The law also allows the voluntary conversion of a civil union to a marriage and protects the religious freedom of churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other religious organizations.
"I couldn't be prouder of Illinois today as we become the 16th state to write equality into our marriage laws," Senator Steans said. "This is a day to celebrate the hard work of so many Illinois families whose commitment to human rights and basic fairness made this moment possible."
"This is a very proud day for the state of Illinois and a happy day for thousands of Illinois families who will now be treated equally in the eyes of the law," Representative Harris said. "I want to thank Governor Quinn, Speaker Madigan and my colleagues for making this day possible."