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Illinois Marriage Equality Bill May Still Have Chance

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Sunday Jun 2, 2013
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Thanks to a quiet move by Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, the deadline for the approval of Illinois marriage equality legislation has been moved to August 31, as reported by the Illinois Observer.

Several House lawmakers "asked for time to talk to their constituents and reach out to their minds and hearts," before deciding how to vote, said State Rep. Greg Harris. Harris promised to bring the bill back in November, drawing loud condemnation in the House chamber and throughout LGBT circles over the past day.

Harris has told a packed House chamber on Friday, May 31 that he was forced to put the vote on hold until November, but if Governor Pat Quinn calls lawmakers back this summer for a special session to address pension reform legislation, he could also include Senate Bill 10 in a special session proclamation.

If Quinn declines to include marriage equality in any order to lawmakers to return to Springfield, Madigan could call a House special session of his own at the same time to take up The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, an insider noted.

"It’s a fascinating move," said one, long-time lobbyist. "It suggests that there is plan to get it done."

As the Observer points out, during a summer session, House lawmakers would need to amend the bill and change the effective date from "30 days" from a gubernatorial signature to January 1 in order to avoid a 3/5th or 71 vote requirement, an insurmountable hurdle.

Amending the bill’s effective date would also require an Illinois Senate vote to concur with such a change. A deadline extension by itself resolves none of the political problems associated with the bill’s opponents, but it may give advocates an incentive to work to resolve them before summer’s end.

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women’s news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes about local restaurants in her food blog, http://brooklyniscookin.blogspot.com/

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