Illinois House passes bill to make same-sex marriage legal

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The Illinois House has voted 61-54 in favour of making same-sex marriage legal.

At the beginning of Tuesday’s session, Representative Greg Harris, the chief sponsor of the equal marriage bill, amended the language in order to change the date the law would go into effect.

The amendment removed the 30-day effective date, which would mean the law would not take effect until 1 June 2014, but would require only 60 votes to pass rather than 71. Rules dictate that bills passed in the veto session can go into effect on that date.

Now it has been passed by the House, it will return to the Senate, which has already passed a same-sex marriage bill February by 34 votes to 21 in February for approval.

The bill was scheduled for a vote in June, however Representative Harris did not call the bill forward as he said he needed more time to gather support for it.

Harris wept as he announced that, due to a lack of support, the bill would not be voted on. Mr Harris said he planned to lobby for the bill before the next legislative session in the autumn.

Earlier, this year, US President Barack Obama said: “Here in Illinois, we’ve got a vote on same-sex marriage that’s going to be coming up in the state legislature. And I just want to say for the record it’s something that I deeply support.”

The president added: ““I wrestled with this for a long time and I am absolutely convinced it is the right thing to do. And we have to make sure that wherever we go, we are reminding people that the essence of America is that everybody is treated equally under the law without exception.”