Reporting Steve Miller
CHICAGO (CBS) – Supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage plan separate rallies in Springfield next week, when lawmakers return for their fall veto session; although it’s still unclear if the House will even take up the hot-button issue.
WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports proposed legislation to legalize same-sex marriages in Illinois passed the Senate in February, but has stalled in the House while Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), the chief House sponsor, tries to round up enough votes to send the measure to the governor, who has pledged to sign it.
From the beginning, Harris has said he will not call the measure for a vote in the House until he has the votes to pass it, though he’s clear that he thinks most Illinois residents support it.
“I think when I put it up on the board, the votes will be there,” Harris said. “This is clearly what the people of Illinois want. We’ve seen poll after poll that the majority of Illinoisans support this.”
Opponents have been working for months to convince House members to reject the measure.
“It’ll hinder religious liberties. It’ll hinder freedom of conscience,” said Illinois Family Institute director of operations Kathy Valente.
The IFI and other conservative groups have said allowing same-sex marriage would lead to a breakdown in the family.
“One lesbian plus one lesbian equals zero daddies. We have enough fatherless families in this country already,” Valente said.
However, Harris said preventing same-sex couples from having the same marriage rights as male-female couples is what’s hurting many Illinois families.
“I think that people across the state of Illinois want this bill to pass, because every day there are families who are being harmed, and I think the legislature should vote and pass it,” he said.
Harris would not say if he’ll call the same-sex marriage proposal for a vote during the veto session.
Supporters plan to march for marriage equality at the Illinois State Capitol on Oct. 22, to urge lawmakers to approve same-sex marriage. They also plan a “Rock the March” concert the night before.
The IFI has planned a bus trip to Springfield on Oct. 23 to encourage lawmakers to vote down the same-sex marriage legislation.