Illinois celebrates same-sex marriage victory

By Daily Illini Editorial Board

Finally.

Same-sex marriage, gay marriage, lesbian marriage. Marriage. Just say it, and taste the words: how freeing, how monumental, how necessary this is.

On Tuesday, both the Illinois state House of Representatives and Senate pushed through legislation that would allow same-sex couples to legally marry. The historic move puts the Land of Lincoln on track to be the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage. 

No longer does an inadequate civil union have to suffice. They were unequal and unjust. And, finally, that’s over.

Earlier this year, a same-sex marriage bill passed the Democrat-controlled Illinois Senate, but it was never put to a vote in the House because major proponents of the bill did not think it would pass. 

The journey to this point has been surprisingly long. The state’s government through and through leans left, and Democrats control both the House and the Senate. 

Not to mention, President Barack Obama, once a state senator in Illinois, said he supported the bill’s passage in May. He again expressed his support Tuesday, along with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn, who has long said he will sign same-sex legislation as soon as it’s on his desk. 

With the exception of a few Republicans, the bill passed both chambers along party lines. 

Since the Senate first passed the bill on Valentine’s Day, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota and New Jersey legalized marriage between two men or two women. Hawaii’s state senate passed a similar bill Oct. 30, and it is likely the next state to join those that have gone before it.

In debates Tuesday before the House voted on the bill, many supporters championed how critically important marriage equality is for residents of the state. Rep. Greg Harris, the main sponsor of the bill, told BuzzFeed, “It is a wonderful day for the state of Illinois. I think it is a day that Illinois can now hold up its head proudly among our sister states.”

Of course, there were the naysayers: It defies “the basic tenets of the Bible,” one representative said. But either history will forget them or it will remember them as the bigots. 

History will remember 2013 as the year of LGBT rights, as several states legalized same-sex marriage and challenged the constitutionality of certain bans.

The Supreme Court redefined marriage by killing the Defense of Marriage Act, allowing same-sex couples to qualify for more than 1,000 federal marital benefits. 

Illinois joined the right side of history Tuesday, and its bravery puts the country that much closer to full marriage equality.