If anyone thought gay marriage legislation would pass easily in Illinois, the initial hiccup Wednesday in the state Senate illustrated how hard-fought the issue is likely to be every step of the way. A bill to allow same-sex marriage did not attract enough support to get a first hearing as Senate Republicans blocked an effort to allow the measure to be considered by a committee. Sponsoring Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, fell two votes short of overcoming what might end up as no more than a minor procedural setback. She vowed to have enough support Thursday to push the gay marriage bill through the full Senate. The Springfield skirmish unfolded as religious leaders in Chicago ratcheted up philosophical opposition and political pressure and gay marriage supporters continued a planned media blitz complete with a TV sitcom star. And while Illinois Republicans continue to largely oppose same-sex marriage, state GOP Chairman Pat Brady publicly supported the bill.
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