Illinois Unlikely to Move on Marriage Equality Bill This Year
State Rep. Greg Harris (D–Chicago) told the Chicago Sun-Times that reeling in Medicaid and pensions programs as well as approving an overall budget would take precedence during the homestretch of the General Assembly’s spring session.
“I never say never,” Harris quipped. “[But] I don’t think there will be a push before the end of this session.”
His bill, HB 5170, would delete a provision outlawing marriage between individuals of the same sex. It was first introduced on Feb. 8 and, perhaps unsurprisingly during an election year in which fiscal issues have been front-and-center, remains pent up in the House Rules Committee.
But Harris, one of the three openly gay lawmakers in the House who filed the legislation, said introducing the bill fosters dialogue between lawmakers and their constituents and gives interested parties a chance to evaluate their positions.
The last statewide poll on the topic conducted by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University was during the fall of 2010, when a third of registered voters said they supported gay marriage. Back then, the civil unions measure passed with only one vote to spare in the Illinois House.
In another poll this spring, 22 percent of registered voters in the state’s most conservative region — the southernmost 18 counties — said they supported legalization.