NBC 5: Illinois pols react to gay marriage advancement

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The Illinois Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. The bill now moves onto the House.

Prominent Illinoisans reacted quickly to the Senate's action:

Gov. Pat Quinn:
"Today, we are one step closer to marriage equality in Illinois.

Couples across Illinois have even more reason today to celebrate their love for each other, thanks to the hard work of committed advocates and lawmakers. This historic legislation will strengthen our state by allowing all committed couples to enjoy the same legal protections and benefits of marriage.

The Senate took a stand for equal rights for all people. I urge the House of Representatives to pass this legislation so that we can ensure Illinois is a welcoming place for everyone.

Full equality for all people is right for Illinois."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel:
"The freedom to marry the person you love is one that should be afforded to all citizens and, for too long, has been denied to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. When two people love each other, no government entity should stand in the way of letting them express that love. It is time that our laws reflect our values and I am so proud that on this Valentine’s Day, the Illinois Senate has voted to approve gay marriage. I commend Senator Heather Steans and Representative Greg Harris for their work on this and I urge the Illinois House to take up this bill in the same bi-partisan fashion."

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle:
“I applaud the members of the Illinois Senate for taking the first step towards marriage equality in our state. Gay and lesbian couples deserve full recognition of their relationships.  Couples who are in loving, committed relationships should be able to marry and be treated equally in the eye of the law.

I congratulate Senator Heather Steans for her tireless leadership on this issue. I urge the House to pass this landmark legislation.”

Cook County Clerk David Orr:
"It is a good day for love. The Illinois Senate took a historic step forward today. I am hopeful that very soon I will have the ability to issue marriage licenses to the thousands of same-sex couples who help make up our communities."

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston):
"During today’s debate on the Marriage Fairness Act, I told my colleagues about my son Elliot. At age four, he is open and accepting. But there’s nothing surprising about a small child seeing a loving same-sex couple committed to living together in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, and seeing a marriage like any other. After all, we're not born differentiating between people based on race, color, creed or sexual orientation. That’s learned behavior.

Unfortunately, Elliot may spend the next decade bombarded by signals telling him that same-sex couples aren't legitimate or entitled to equal rights. These signals will come from popular culture, from peers in school and from adults. Today the Senate took a stand and said those signals will no longer come from the State of Illinois.

On behalf of all my gay and lesbian constituents, who have waited patiently for far too long for the right simply to be treated like everyone else, I voted yes. I voted to teach all our children that Illinois stands for equality."

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