US: Equal marriage bill appears on calendar for Illinois House in last day of session

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With only one day left before the current Illinois legislative session ends, a bill to legalise equal marriage has appeared on the calendar for today.

Representative Greg Harris, the equal marriage bill’s sponsor, had said he would call the bill for a vote before the end of session, which is on Friday.

Sixty votes are necessary to pass the measure, and despite Representative Harris previously saying he believed it had enough, it is unclear whether it will pass.

Advocates of equal marriage in the state are to hold an urgent rally today at 11:30 to push the House to vote on a bill to legalise it.

Jim Bennett, the Midwest regional director for Lambda Legal, spoke at a press conference on Thursday, outside the House.

“A vote has been promised and it is time to deliver on that promise,” he said. “When you look at all the politics and all the things that have happened, when it comes down to it, it is about thousands of Illinois families and their lives.”

Speaking at a fundraising dinner in Chicago on Wednesday, President Obama said he hoped the bill would pass, when it is called in the House, that he “deeply supported” it, and that it is “the right thing to do”.

On Thursday 14 February, the Illinois Senate, which is controlled by the Democrats, voted 34-21 to approve the measure. Prior to the Senate vote, Governor Pat Quinn had already indicated that he would sign the bill into law.

On 11 May, Quinn said: “It’s time to vote… Illinois passing marriage equality into law, I think, sends a great signal to the people of our state and the people of America. So it’s important to Illinois [that] the House of Representatives get going.”

The House resumes at 09:30 local time, and the bill appeared on the fourth page of the calendar, making it unclear when it might be called.

More to follow.