Gov Pat Quinn Pledges to Sign Illinois Gay Marriage Bill
While most of the nation’s attention was on elections this week, both the Illinois state senate and state house passed a bill legalizing gay marriage, making it the 15th state to allow same-sex unions. After the bill passed the senate by a vote of 61 to 54, Governor Pat Quinn vowed to sign the legislation into law on November 20.
This is clearly another big win for a gay marriage rights movement that is gaining strong momentum. Most interesting is how many different ways those wins have come.
Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court struck down California’s gay marriage ban and a New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the state had to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Courts have also struck down gay marriage bans in Connecticut, Iowa, and Massachusetts over the last decade.
Illinois is the seventh state to legalize gay marriage through their legislature. Earlier this year, legislators in Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota legalized same-sex unions. New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire had voted to legalize same-sex marriage over the last four years as well.
In Maryland, gay marriage was legalized through a voter referendum earlier this year. Similar voter-driven ballot initiatives have passed in Maine and Washington over the last year.
Hawaii is quickly moving to become the next state to legalize same-sex marriage with their state senate passing the bill and a vote in the state house expected in the coming days. New Mexico could become the 17th state to legalize gay marriage, depending on how their state Supreme Court rules on their pending gay marriage decision. Six New Mexico couples have sued for the right to marry and, with the state constitution having no mention of gay marriage, they have a strong chance to win.
Of course, progress remains slow and biases remain strong. A recent survey by Gallup found that 52 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage becoming legal in every state while 43 percent oppose. While that seems like strong opposition, consider that as recently as 2001, just 35 percent of people said they supported gay marriage.
(Image: Ludovic Bertron)