An editorial from the Chicago Tribune urged the Illinois House to do as their Senate counterparts did last week and pass marriage equality.
Allowing same-sex couples to wed under the law would not devalue traditional marriage. It would affirm the bedrock values that underlie and sustain such unions.
Marriage promotes stable families, safeguards the interests of children and rewards committed relationships.
Recognizing same-sex marriages demonstrates respect for personal freedoms and keeps government out of the intimate affairs of citizens. More people in same-sex relationships are adopting or giving birth to children; this provides the security of a legal commitment for those children. It's the fair thing to do.
It's also smart politics. Support for gay marriage has been building steadily: A 1996 Gallup poll found 27 percent of Americans in favor of allowing same-sex couples to wed; now it's at 50 percent with a bullet, since the strongest support comes from younger voters.
Public opinion is shifting with remarkable speed. In November, voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington approved referendums allowing gay marriage, and in Minnesota, voters rejected a constitutional amendment to ban it.
That support has been building in Springfield, too, as evidenced by the Senate vote. Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady announced his support for same-sex marriage, prompting an attempt by some conservatives to oust him from the party post. That attempt failed. Undeterred by the risk of repercussions, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, also a Republican, recently urged lawmakers to "go for it."
Ladies and gentlemen of the House, it's your turn to step up.