Ward Room
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Opinion: State House Has Political Cover To Pass Gay Marriage Bill

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"Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage," Illinois' junior senator wrote on his website Tuesday.

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Now that Illinois’ four highest-ranking politicians are in favor of same-sex marriage, the state House of Representatives is going to look awfully retrograde if it doesn’t pass the bill awaiting its vote. 

President Barack Obama, Gov. Pat Quinn and senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk -- our number-one Republican -- all believe gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry. Illinois has the most gay-friendly leadership of any state in the union. Yet less than a month ago, House Speaker Michael Madigan said the Religious Freedom and Marriage Equality Act, which passed the senate on Valentine’s Day, is “12 votes short” of passage in his chamber.
 
Only one House Republican, Rep. Ron Sandack of Downers Grove, favors same-sex marriage. In a letter to constituents, Sandack wrote:
 
Nothing about permitting two loving adults to marry violates our conservative values; rather, it encourages them. Same sex marriage promotes a stable relationship between two people which is a true conservative value. Legalizing same sex marriage strengthens our appreciation for families and promotes our American ideal of equal rights under the law.
 
The House is scheduled to reconvene in Springfield on April 10. In the few weeks since it last met, the cause of same-sex marriage has advanced. It now has the support of a majority of the United States Senate -- a body designed to be much more cautious and immune to political fads than a state legislature. 
 
State representatives, you have all the political cover you need to pass this bill.

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