Nearly nine months after the marriage equality bill sailed through the Illinois Senate, it finally passed the state's House Tuesday in a 61-54 vote. The bill now heads to Gov. Pat Quinn‘s desk, who made a pledge when he took office to bring marriage equality to the state and it will go into effect on June 1, 2014.
“Today the Illinois House put our state on the right side of history,” Governor Quinn said in a statement. “I thank Representative Greg Harris and Senator Heather Steans, Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton, the dedicated advocates who have worked day and night to get this bill to my desk, and members of the General Assembly who took a stand for equal rights. Illinois is a place that embraces all people and today, we are an example for the nation.”
Celebration immediately followed the final count, as the House gallery erupted into an applause. One advocate even received a proposal from his partner of 32 years via text that read “Will you marry me in June 2014?”
President Barack Obama commended the efforts made in his home state. “Tonight, I applaud the men and women of the Illinois General Assembly, a body in which I was proud to serve, for voting to legalize marriage equality,” he said in a statement. “As I said in my Inaugural Address last January, our journey as a nation is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. And tonight, I’m so proud that the men and women elected to serve the people of the great state of Illinois have chosen to take us one step further on that journey to perfect our union.”