State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and gay state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) introduced the measures in their respective chambers on the first day of the 2013 legislative session.
“It is significant that Rep. Greg Harris and Sen. Heather Steans plan to use the first day of the new General Assembly to reintroduce the bills recognizing the right to marry for all Illinois couples,” Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov said before the legislators formally introduced the same-sex marriage bills. “We expect the House and Senate to promptly pass the measure and remove the current barrier to the equal availability of civil marriage.”
The Illinois Senate Executive Committee on Jan. 3 voted 8-5 to advance a same-sex marriage measure, but lawmakers did not take up the proposal before their legislative session ended on Tuesday. President Obama, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Illinois republican Party Chair Pat Brady are among those who have urged legislators to back the measure.
Illinois is among the handful of states that include Delaware and Rhode Island in which lawmakers are expected to consider same-sex marriage bills this year.
Nine states and D.C. currently allow gays and lesbians to tie the knot.