Governor to sign same-sex marriage bill Wednesday

By Stoney Stone

Gov. Pat Quinn will sign the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act Wednesday amid conflicting views.

The bill will allow same-sex couples the right to wed as soon as June 1, and the signing will be open to the public. Local politicians opposed the legislation, which was passed Nov. 5, though others have expressed support for it.

“I’m pleased to see the Legislature act and pass the vote, which supports committed couples in the state with fair and equal treatment under the law,” said DeKalb Mayor John Rey.

Elvia Arriola, an NIU professor of law with expertise in LGBT studies, was surprised to hear the bill passed. With little Republican support for the amendment to the bill, Arriola said she is doubtful the measure can garner the supermajority of 71 votes needed to speed up the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Proponents of the measure are hopeful the process will be sped up through an amendment to an unrelated bill.

If that bill gets the votes it needs, same-sex couples throughout the state may be able to marry their partners as soon as 30 days after the bill passes.

DeKalb County lies within Illinois’s 14th and 16th U.S. Congressional districts and is represented by Republican representatives Randy Hultgren and Adam Kinzinger. In the Illinois General Assembly, DeKalb is represented by Republicans Robert Pritchard in the 70th district and Tom Demmer in the 90th district.

Pritchard and Demmer opposed the bill when it came up for its final vote Tuesday.

Pritchard said he wasn’t surprised by the bill’s vote.

“There has been a movement building over the last two years ever since the civil unions bill passed,” Pritchard said.

Pritchard said the reason the bill passed was “a tribute to all the hard work of the advocates [of the bill]” and said he was pleased to be able to move on to other more pressing issues facing the state, like budget funding, education and pension reform.

The news of the vote has elicited a more positive response from students. On campus, the vote came as news to senior history major Josh Sloan.

“I was not surprised,” Sloan said. “We live in a progressive era, and I’m glad to see people overcoming the stigma of homosexuality. The fact that those turds in office passed it surprised me, though.”

Demmer did not respond to requests to comment.