Illinois: Senate passes marriage equality bill 34-21

Yay! Passed the state Senate 34-21.

The bill was approved Thursday afternoon following a vigorous debate between lawmakers who both supported and opposed the measure. Two lawmakers voted present.

Only one Republican — state Sen. Jason Barickman, of Champaign, joined a supermajority of Democrats in voting yes.

If the bill is also approved by the state House of Representatives, Illinois will join Washington, D.C. and nine other U.S. marriage equality states. The state has had civil unions available for same-sex couples since June 2011.

From Bloomberg:

“The greatest commandment Jesus left is, ‘Love one another,’” Democratic Senator Martin Sandoval of Chicago said during debate on the bill. “Why is it so wrong today to be able to share licensure with your life partner? You do. Why can’t everyone else?”

Democratic Senator Kwame Raoul, who filled Barack Obama’s seat on Chicago’s South Side after the 2008 presidential election, said fears of destroying society’s pillars are unfounded. He said allowing gay marriage is consistent with the nation’s removal of discriminatory laws.

“Let’s knock down this wall because it’s the right thing to do,” Raoul said from the Senate floor. “The sky is not falling, Chicken Little.”

(via Huffington Post)