Update 6:55 p.m. via the New York Times: “On Tuesday, the Senate quickly approved changes the House made to the bill, sending it to the desk of Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat who has said he will sign it. Illinois couples could begin marrying June 1.”
Original Post 5:45 p.m.: The Illinois state house narrowly approved of a gay marriage bill on Tuesday, paving the way for the state to legalize same-sex unions. The bill received 61 votes in the house, narrowly surpassing the minimum of 60 votes required to send the measure back to the Senate for final approval. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has said he will sign the bill if it clears the state legislature. The measure, if passed, would make Illinois the 15th state to legalize same-sex unions. It would change the definition of marriage in the state that currently states a marriage is between a man and a woman and it would allow for civil unions to be converted into marriages within a year, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Here’s more from the Chicago Tribune on how the vote went down:
The House vote followed more than two-and-a-half hours of debate in which supporters said it’s time for Illinois to make marriage equal for all and opponents raised concerns about protecting the institution of marriage and the religious beliefs of those who say marriage should be between a man and woman.
The bill initially needed 71 votes to pass, but that threshold fell to 60 after the legislation was amended to change the effective date to next June 1. Because the bill was altered, it will have to return to the Senate, where Senate President John Cullerton says his members are prepared to approve it for the second time.
The Illinois Senate is expected to vote on the measure Tuesday night.