Gay Illinois Lawmaker Deborah Mell Marries Partner in Iowa


Illinois State Rep. Deborah Mell married her partner in Iowa over the weekend, the Sun-Times reports:

Mell, 43, is the first high-profile elected official in the state to publicly enter into a same-sex marriage.

But she had to go to Iowa to do it. It’s one of only six states plus the District of Columbia where same-sex marriage is legal. A judge in Davenport performed their civil ceremony last Wednesday.

Mell’s wife of one week is Christin Baker, 36, a national director for the YMCA. They dated for seven years.

“Our relationship deserves marriage,” said a beaming Mell, her newly wedding-banded hand resting on Baker’s shoulder Tuesday. “That’s how I feel about it. I mean there was a time in our relationship where it just wasn’t right to call Christin my ‘partner’ or my ‘friend’ . . . or even my ‘civil-unionized partner.’ You know she’s my wife. . . . We deserve those titles, those rights.”

Mell told journalist Carol Marin that she would marry in Iowa last April, just before taking the announcement of her engagement to the Illinois House floor.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a civil union bill into law there on January 31 of this year, but Mell has repeatedly stated her opposition to anything but full marriage rights.

Watch Mell's speech to the House, AFTER THE JUMP...