SPRINGFIELD — The Democratic-led Senate delivered a Valentine’s Day victory to gay and lesbian couples today, passing legislation for the first time that would allow same-sex marriage in Illinois. The gay marriage measure now goes to the House, where the fight is expected to be tougher. Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill if it reaches his desk. The 34-21-2 Senate vote represents a turnaround of sorts after advocates unsuccessfully sought to push a gay marriage bill through last month’s lame-duck legislative session. Supporters vowed to try again quickly with a new General Assembly that featured even more Democratic seats in both chambers. Under the measure, marriage officially would be changed in state law from an act between a man and a woman to two people. The legislation explicitly says nothing in the proposed law would force a religious denomination or minster to “solemnize any marriage.” People in civil unions would be able to convert them to gay marriages within a year of a same-sex marriage law going on the books in Illinois. (More at link)
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