Same-Sex marriages in Illinois? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Same-Sex marriages in Illinois?

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CARTERVILLE, IL (KFVS) - The Land of Lincoln could soon become the latest state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriages.

That is if Illinois Representative Greg Harris (D) 13th District is able to persuade enough other Illinois legislators to get onboard with his "Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act", or HB 5170.

Representative Harris introduced the legislation on Wednesday in Springfield. And so far three other legislators have signed on as co-sponsors.

They are Representative Deborah Mell (D) 40th District, Representative Kelley Cassidy (D) 14th District and Representative Ann Williams (D) 11th District.

But, not everyone in the Illinois House of Representatives is in favor of the measure.

"I am not going to be supportive of it. I didn't support civil unions," said Representative John Bradley (D) 117th District. "And I don't intend to support the gay marriage proposal. But I am sure this is going to be an ongoing battle for the State of Illinois."

The measure if passed would do away with the law that prohibits gay marriages. And it would allow same-sex couples the same marriage rights currently only available to heterosexual couples.

The proposal would also allow religious groups to decide whether or not they would perform the marriage ceremonies.

But, Representative Mike Bost (R) 115th District says there are a lot of legal differences between civil unions and same-sex marriages.

"We see many problems that can occur even with the civil unions that we've already dealt with. I'm afraid that gay marriage would step that up a bit," said Representative Bost. " It's a bill that will be out there. Each one of us will vote our own conscience. I didn't vote for civil unions and I won't be voting for gay marriages."

Representative Harris is hoping to get the bill through the rules committee and onto the house floor for a full discussion during the upcoming Spring legislative session.

He was instrumental in getting civil unions passed in Illinois, last year.

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