The Chicago Tribune
December 13, 2012

Gay marriage supporters said today they have moved to “within striking distance” of collecting enough votes to pass a bill in early January. Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Greg Harris unveiled plans to take up the measure in the closing days of the current General Assembly before a new set of lawmakers are sworn in Jan. 9. The legislation would allow same-sex marriage and protect the right of religious institutions to either consecrate or not consecrate such weddings, but church leaders from a variety of faiths have rallied staunch opposition. Nine states allow gay marriage, including three states --- Maine, Maryland and Washington --- that approved legalizing gay marriage. Both Steans and Harris said the ballot-box victories elsewhere last month represent a “sea change” that they are seeing among colleagues in Illinois. The two Chicago Democrats said they plan to put up the same-sex marriage bill for a vote and indicated they wouldn’t do that without believing it would pass. Still, they remained cautious. Steans said the two “don’t want to lose the momentum” and “we want to do it now.”