Update: Just as I posted this diary, the news came out that the IL House of Representatives has passed the civil unions law! On the the Senate! Gov. Patrick Quinn has promised to sign the bill into law.
From Equality Illinois:
We did it! The Illinois House of Representatives passed the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act with a vote of 61 to 52!
However, the Illinois Senate has yet to vote on the civil union bill and has until Thursday, December 2nd to do so. We are almost there but need your help to make this bill a reality. Please:
1. Call your Senator NOW and tell him/her to pass SB 1716 (If you do not know who your legislator is, you can look him/her up here).
2. Support our aggressive advocacy efforts with a contribution. Not only do we still need to pass the bill through the State Senate, but we will then need to protect the law from attempts to repeal it. We can only succeed with your support. Please donate now.
We are extremely thankful to State Representative Greg Harris, chief sponsor of the bill, for his extraordinary leadership on this issue. Thank you for supporting us and we will keep you posted on the status of this historic bill.
Chief Executive Officer
As we speak, a civil unions bill is up for debate and vote in the Illinois House of Representatives.
Openly gay Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), who co-sponsored SB 1716, started his opening statement at 5:17 p.m on Tuesday. “Once in every generation,” he said, “legislatures across the country have a chance to advance the cause of liberty and justice for all.”
SB 1716, the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act needs 60 votes to pass in the House. Supporters believe they have the necessary votes to pass the bill out of the House and on to the Senate, where quick passage is expected.
Tuesday afternoon, an Illinois Senate committee advanced its version of the civil unions bill by a 6-2 margin. The upper chamber on the Senate would have to approve the legislation if it clears the House.
According to the article above, a poll last month showed that 67.5% of likely Illinois voters approve of civil unions or marriage for same sex couples while only 26.5% oppose any recognition.
If the legislation passes, Illinois will join California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington as the latest state to offer full-scale Civil Unions or Domestic Partnerships. Marriage equality is the law of the land in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington D.C..
Fingers crossed for the Land of Lincoln!