Mixed Reaction to Same Sex Marriage Passage


ROCKFORD (WTVO) -- Now that marriage equality awaits Governor Quinn's signature, some say it's time to move on.

"For those that don't want marriage equality, get over it," says Michael Wright, co-owner of The Office, a bar in downtown Rockford that has catered to gay patrons for more than 20 years.

Wright has been with his partner for 31 years, they were in a celebratory mood after the landmark passage by lawmakers in Springfield.

Illinois becomes the 15th state to legalize gay marriage after both the House and the Senate passed the amended bill Tuesday afternoon. The House needed 60 votes to get the new version passed, it received 61.

"I hope that the entire country will also realize that marriage equality goes to everyone," says Wright.

"It seems like it may have happened very quickly, to some people who haven't followed the events," says Rev. Erik Carlson of the Unitarian Univeralist Church of Stockton. "But this is really a decision that's several generations in the making."

Carlson has been fighting for marriage equality for years, participating in rallies in recent weeks at the State Capitol.

"There are certain religions and certain people within religions who like to use faith to divide people," says Carlson. "We come from a tradition that believes that relgions is about bringing people together."

The vote in Springfield did not sit well with Catholic leaders in Rockford, calling the vote "truly grievous."

"Redefining marriage as being between "two persons" rather than between between "one man and one woman" ignores the unique nature of this institution," Bishop David J. Malloy of the Rockford Diocese said in a statement Tuesday.  "This legislation undermines this fundamental basis of human interaction and its contribution to a stable society."

Dozens of republicans agree with Malloy.

"I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman," said Rep. John Cabello (R) 68th District. "I don't know why we're tackling social issues when we don't have our financial house in order."

Lawmakers do not expect any major issues, such as the long-awaited pension reform proposal, to be called to a vote this week during the veto-session.

UPDATE (5:09pm): The senate votes in favor of gay marriage.  The bill now heads to the Governor's desk.

UPDATE (4:07pm): A same-sex marriage bill passed the house by a single vote, according to Rep. John Cabello (R).  The amended version of the bill now goes to the Senate for approval.  A vote is expected to to begin by 5pm.  If passed, it'll go to the Governor's desk.  Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has already said he'd sign it.  In fact, he addressed the House prior to the vote to convince legislators to vote in favor of the bill.

SPRINGFIELD - Lawmakers in the Illinois House are discussing gay marriage.

This comes after days of reports indicating momentum in support of gay marriage has been building.  House Speaker Michael Madigan has been lobbying for it, and a State Representative who was on the fence about it is now in favor of the measure.

The senate passed a bill earlier this year, but the House never even called a vote on it.

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