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Illinois Becomes 16th State To Allow Gay Marriage

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill into law on Wednesday that would allow same-sex marriage in the state. The bill marks Illinois as the 16th state in the nation to approve gay marriage.

“Love never fails,” the Democratic governor said, receiving roaring cheers, just before signing the historic law.

Named the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, the bill will be effective as of June 1, 2013. The legislation was voted in by the state senate in February. The state House followed suit—albeit by a small margin—earlier this month.

The approved measure marks another triumph for gay rights, following Hawaii’s legalization of gay marriage last week as well as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie backing away his opposition to gay marriage last month. In 2011, Quinn had signed a civil unions measure, which left gay rights advocates dissatisfied.

The number of states that recognize same-sex marriage has more than doubled in just one year. Illinois is the latest in what has been a busy yet successful year for gay rights, particularly with the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Lt. Governor Sheila Simon echoed Quinn’s support. “It’s time to stop planning rallies and start planning weddings,” she said to a crowd of more than 2,000 at the University of Illinois-Chicago Forum.

The signing was not without its opponents. Thomas J. Paprocki, a Catholic bishop from Springfield, announced he would perform an exorcism during the governor’s signing. Other opponents were worried that religious facilities would be forced by law to allow gay marriages. The bill, however, included provisions respecting the reserved rights of religious groups.

About the author

Gary Bryan is an industrial marketing manager by daytime and political and social issues writer by night. You can also find his editorials at Mic.com.