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UPDATED: Same-Sex Marriage Passes Senate
Updated with video February 14, 4:54 p.m.
Illinois is one step closer to allowing gay couples to marry. The Senate voted to legalize same-sex marriage this afternoon.
Republicans had been concerned same-sex marriage would threaten religious freedom. But the bill now exempts churches from having to host ceremonies for same-sex couples at their facilities. It doesn't exclude schools or social service agencies, though.
The Senate voted 34 to 21 to legalize gay marriage. Three Democrats voted against it. All were from downstate.
Here are the words from two lawmakers who broke away from their parties.
"I believe the people of Illinois want government to give individuals freedom over their life decisions," Sen. Jason Barickman (R - Bloomington) said. "We want fairness under the law."
"Despite certain growing trends, this represents a serious threat to the future of the family and society itself," Sen. William Haine (D - Alton) said.
Under this proposal, all of the state laws and benefits that apply to marriage would equally apply to same-sex married couples.
Since the governor signed a state law legalizing civil unions two years ago, 5,100 couples have applied for a license. Of those, 3,500 were during the first six months.
We're told those who are a part of a civil union could convert it into a marriage under the new bill.
The bill now moves to the House for discussion, where sponsors are optimistic they can get it passed. If the House approves same-sex marriage, Gov. Pat Quinn says he will sign it. Illinois would then become the 10th state in the nation to allow same-sex couples to marry.
Updated February 14, 3:17 p.m.
The Illinois Senate has passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage with a 34-21 vote. The bill now moves to the House.
The bill is SB10.
Central Illinois Senators voted as follows:
Sam McCann (R - Jacksonville) voted no.
William Brady (R - Bloomington) voted no.
Andy Manar (D - Staunton) voted yes.
Chapin Rose (R - Champaign) voted no.
John Sullivan (D - Quincy) voted no.
Click here to see how each lawmaker voted.
Click here to read statements from Gov. Pat Quinn, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, and Senate President John Cullerton.