A bill to legalize same-sex marriage passed the Illinois Senate early Thursday afternoon, making a happier Valentine's Day for gay couples across the state.
The Senate passed the bill—SB 10—with 34 votes in favor, 21 votes against and two abstentions. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives, where it will need 60 votes to pass.
Sens. Don Harmon and Kimberly Lightford, both Democrats, voted for the bill. Harmon, the Senate President Pro Tempore, represents part of Oak Park and River Forest; Lightford, the assistant majority leader, represents part of Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park.
"Couples in loving, committed relationships should be able to declare, with pride and dignity, that they are married," Harmon said in a statement, posted on the site as a PFD. "They should be able to enjoy both the celebration and the commitment that accompany marriage. If we’re serious about extending equal rights to same‐sex couples, we must approve gay marriage in Illinois.
I was proud to preside over the Illinois Senate during this historic vote, and I urge the House (of Representatives) to follow suit and send this bill to the governor’s desk."
The bill will now go over to the House, where it will have to repeat the same process before going to Gov. Pat Quinn. Quinn already voiced his support of the bill in a Chicago Tribune report.
If passed, the state law defining marriage would be changed from an act between a man and a woman, to two people.
"I've been told it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when it's going to be done," veteran marriage equality advocate Rick Garcia, senior policy advisor at The Civil Rights Agenda, told the Huffington Post last week.
But not all were in favor of the bill. Bishop Thomas Paprocki, of Springfield issued a statement saying Catholics who, "propose or promote the legal establishment of marriage as something other than the union of one man and one woman harm the common good of society."
If passed, Illinois would be the 10th state to approve same-sex marriage. The most recent was Washington, which approved a ballot initiative in November.