Civil Rights

Gay marriage bill passes state senate, awaits house approval

The Illinois Senate on Thursday passed legislation allowing same-sex marriage, the Chicago Tribune reports. If it’s approved by the House, Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill into law.

Under the measure, the definition of marriage would be changed from an act between a man and a woman to an act between two people. The bill also states that religious denominations or ministers could not be forced to marry anyone. Two years ago, Illinois legalized civil unions for straight and same-sex couples. If the same-sex marriage bill becomes law, Illinois residents could convert same-sex civil unions into marriages.

Heather Steans, a Democrat state senator from Chicago, is sponsoring the measure. Supporters tried to get an earlier version of the bill through January’s lame-duck session, but failed.

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