Illinois becomes 15th state to pass marriage equality
SPRINGFIELD – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today congratulated the Illinois House on its historic vote to pass marriage equality. Illinois is now poised to become the 15th state recognizing marriage fairness.
“Today Illinois has made history. We will treat all families equally,” said Simon. “This has been a personal fight for me, and I am looking forward to celebrating with friends who will finally be able to share in the same rights my husband and I have.”
Last month Simon joined thousands of marriage equality proponents, religious leaders and families in Springfield to rally and march in support of marriage equality. In January, Simon recruited Jesse Tyler Ferguson, star of ABC’s “Modern Family” to push for passage of SB 10. Ferguson and his then-fiancé Justin Mikita visited Springfield to lobby legislators in support of marriage equality. Ferguson and Mikita, who wed this year, are founders of the non-for-profit, Tie The Knot. The foundation sells limited-edition bow ties with proceeds going to organizations nationwide that are working toward marriage equality. The collection is designed and sold by The Tie Bar, a popular Naperville-based online men's neckwear company.
“Justin and I would like to congratulate our friends in Illinois, who today have made history by recognizing all loving, committed relationships,” said Ferguson. “Justin and I join you in celebrating equality for all.”
Senate Bill 10, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), passed the Senate in February. The legislation was amended on the House floor today to change the effective date and will be sent to the Senate again for approval before heading to Governor Quinn’s desk. The governor’s signature will make Illinois the 15th state in the nation to recognize marriage equality.
“I would like to thank the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Greg Harris for their tireless work on this issue,” added Simon. “Their unwavering leadership in the General Assembly has led us to this moment.”
“It has been a long and difficult road, and I am proud that we have finally arrived at this historic day in Illinois,” said Steans, chief Senate sponsor of SB 10. “We have demonstrated what we know to be true — that Illinois is a state that opposes discrimination, welcomes diversity, supports families, respects religious freedom and ensures that all its residents are treated fairly under the law.”
Though Illinois already has civil unions, only marriage affords couples the ability to file joint tax returns, participate in spousal Social Security and veterans’ benefits, and benefit under the Family and Medical Leave Act.