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Emanuel Pushes For Gay Marriage In Illinois

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Rahm Emanuel addresses the U.S. Conference of Mayors. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pledging to push for legalizing gay marriage in Illinois.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Mayor Emanuel says he will continue to push for same-sex marriage because he believes two people who love each other and share their lives should have the same rights as other couples regardless of gender.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

“I support both the civil union and ultimately, gay marriage, because I think discrimination is embedded deeper than just recognizing a marriage or recognizing a civil union,” Emanuel said. “We need that recognizing the love between two adults also has a series of rippling effects through a series of policies, public and private, that we all take as a given, and is not true for gay and lesbian couples.”

Last week, Illinois State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) introduced a bill that would give same-sex couples full marriage rights in Illinois.

The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, H.B. 5170, with co-sponsor Reps. Deborah Mell (D-Chicago) and Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) signing on.

The proposed legislation declares that “all laws of this State applicable to marriage apply equally to marriages of same-sex and different-sex couples and their children; parties to a marriage and their children, regardless of whether the marriage is of a same-sex or different-sex couple, have the same benefits, protections, and responsibilities under law.”

Harris was a lead architect of bill that legalized civil unions in Illinois last year. He has introduced bills for full same-sex marriage rights previously, but has not been successful.

Currently, the State of Illinois still bans same-sex marriage by statute. But last year, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill granting civil unions to same-sex couples.

Full same-sex marriage rights are currently available in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Iowa and the District of Columbia.

This past Monday, Washington state Gov. Chris Gregiore signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in that state, although the bill will not take effect until at least early June.

Same-sex marriage was also legal in California after a state Supreme Court decision in June 2008, but that decision was overturned by Proposition 8 five months later. Last week, a federal appeals panel struck down Prop 8, but same-sex marriages cannot resume until the appeals process is exhausted.

In Maryland this week, a state House committee also voted in favor of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage there.

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