Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Thursday called for state lawmakers in the House to vote on, and approve a bill to legalise equal marriage, and said they have had enough time to consider the bill given that it passed in the Senate over two months ago.
On Thursday 14 February, the Illinois Senate, which is controlled by the Democrats, voted 34-21 to approve the measure. Prior to the Senate vote, Quinn had already indicated that he would sign the bill into law.
He has now called on the House in Illinois to vote on the measure, saying that lawmakers have had enough time to consider it.
“It’s time to vote,” he said. “Illinois passing marriage equality into law, I think, sends a great signal to the people of our state and the people of America. So it’s important to Illinois [that] the House of Representatives get going.”
The Democratic Governor said he thought there were enough votes for the bill to pass, however Democratic Representative Greg Harris, the bill’s sponsor, told the Chicago Tribune that he was not sure when he would call the legislation for a vote.
Conceding that momentum is building in favour of equal marriage across the US, Harris said the pressure was on Illinois to “do the right thing”.
“In the last couple months we have seen the voters of three different states vote for marriage equality at the ballot box and in the last week we saw two other states, and probably a third today, where the legislature said that treating people equally is the right American thing to do,” Harris said.
“Now the eyes of the country are on Illinois to see if we are going to do the right thing.”
Advocates of the bill have said they are close to gathering the 60 votes necessary for the bill to pass in the House, but made it clear that they do not want to push the bill forward for a vote until it has enough support to pass.
The vote in the Senate followed a vote in the General Assembly with 23 votes to 18 two weeks ago. The bill has the support of Governor Jack Markell, who has this evening signed the bill into law.
The House in the US state of Minnesota passed a bill to legalise equal marriage on Thursday, with a clear majority in favour. The Minnesota Senate is to vote on the bill on Monday.
Pat Brady, the Chairman of the US Republican Party in Illinois this week resigned, following persistent calls for him to step down over his support for equal marriage, but denied that is the reason for his resignation.