Son of Illinois lawmaker who raced back to support marriage equality passes away

During an impassioned debate Tuesday on the the Illinois marriage equality bill, Rep. Naomi Jakobsson was caring for her son, Garret, who was extremely ill. Rep. Jakobsson, who was a co-sponsor of the marriage equality bill,  rushed in and out of the Illinois Capitol to vote for the passage of the marriage equality bill which passed successfully with 61 votes. Sorrowfully Rep. Jakobsson's son Garret has passed away at the age of 46.

Jakobbson’s colleagues stood for a moment of silence when the death was announced by House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie.

“I would like the members to join me in sending our deepest sympathies to Naomi and her husband, Eric,” Currie said. “Last night, their son Garret, age 46, died after a long illness.

In addition to grieving parents, he will be missed by his many brothers and sisters, his wife, Liz, his 10-year-old son, Gunnar. A co-sponsor of the bill, Jakobsson cast a vote on the winning side. The measure passed with only 61 votes, one vote more than the bare minimum needed to pass. The Senate then sent the bill to the governor, who has promised to sign the measure and make Illinois the 15th state to approve gay marriage.

Currie asked for the moment so the full House could “express in their own hearts their concern for Naomi, her family and young Gunner.”

The Chicago Tribune has more on the sad story.

GLAAD shares in Rep. Jakobsson and her family's tragic loss. We send our heartfelt condolences and are greatful for her incredible courage.