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Marriage Equality Advocates Pressure Lawmakers At State Capitol

Jay Levine Jay Levine
Jay Levine is the chief correspondent for CBS 2 Chicago. He joined...
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) -- In Springfield today, the beginning of the fall veto session saw state lawmakers far outnumbered by those lobbying in support of one key issue before the legislature: marriage equality.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports same-sex marriage is in limbo, but more difficult to pass during the veto session, when you need a three-fifths majority, or 71 votes, rather than 60 during the regular session. That is an awfully tall order, and those who rallied in Springfield today, know it.

A cold steady rain may have cut the size of the crowd, but it did not dampen its spirit, boosted by elected officials clearly speaking their language.

It is about just that: equality, fairness, respect, families and love,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

For people like Adgar Arredondo and John Welsh of Chicago, who already have a civil union.

“We’d been together for 17 years so this would is a big step for us,” said Welsh.

Pati and Mary Strabogenis came from Naperville

“We went to speak to our representatives but she wasn’t available,” said Mary.

“She claims its religious beliefs and I respect her religious beliefs and i respect but this bill is about religious freedom,” said Pati.

The battle lines are clearly drawn. With lawmakers split, the bill’s getting to the Governor’s desk far from certain.

“I am prepared to sign the marriage bill into law as soon as the House of Representatives passes it,” said Quinn.

But it may be awhile before he gets to use that pen, as there’s no guarantee the bill’s sponsor will even call it this week.

“We shall see how things play out,” said Harris.

But there’s mounting pressure on Harris to get an up or down vote, rather than waiting until he’s sure he has enough votes to pass it.

“I think it’s gonna happen soon, not this week,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.

That could mean the week after next, when lawmakers are scheduled to return for another three days, if necessary, before adjourning until after the first of the year.

Harris could make it a little easier to pass the bill if he changed the effective date from immediately until next year. Then it’s back to a simple majority. Count on him using the next two weeks to round up as many votes as possible.