Governor Pat Quinn today hailed passage of historic legislation that will make Illinois the 15th state in the nation to embrace full marriage equality. The legislation, which passed the Illinois Senate earlier this year and today was approved by the Illinois House in a historic vote, will permit all couples in our state to receive the rights and protections of marriage. As part of his agenda to ensure Illinois embraces all people, Governor Quinn first called for marriage equality in May 2012 and made it a top legislative priority this year, featuring it in his 2013 State of the State address.
"Today the Illinois House put our state on the right side of history," Governor Quinn said. "I thank Representative Greg Harris and Senator Heather Steans, Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton, the dedicated advocates who have worked day and night to get this bill to my desk, and members of the General Assembly who took a stand for equal rights. Illinois is a place that embraces all people and today, we are an example for the nation."
In 2011, Governor Quinn fought for and signed into law historic civil union legislation, a major step forward at the time. Since then, more than 6,000 couples from across Illinois have joined in a civil union.
Senate Bill 10, sponsored by Representative Harris and Senator Steans, takes the necessary next step to achieve full marriage equality in Illinois, and will promote equal access to status, benefits, protections, rights and responsibilities for all couples entering into marriage. The bill, which takes effect June 1, 2014, was approved by the Illinois House today and now returns to the Illinois Senate for concurrence.
This summer, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a landmark decision to ensure more than 1,100 federal rights and benefits for all same-sex couples.