VIDEO: Passing the freedom to marry in Illinois can’t wait. For Steve and Robb, it’s too late.

This morning, we released a video featuring the heartbreaking story of Robb Smith and Steven Rynes, a loving and committed couple in Chicago whose union was cut short by Steve’s death. Because the Illinois House of Representatives has failed to enact the freedom to marry, Steve died before he and Robb could be married as Steve had wished.

Their inability to marry in Illinois compounded the couple’s anguish, denying them more than a thousand federal protections available to married couples in the wake of the Supreme Court’s June ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Watch the video here:

Robb and Steve had been together since Christmas Day 2011 and entered into a civil union in Illinois in January 2013.  While 13 other states enacted marriage equality but Illinois did not, Steve developed Stage 3 Melanoma and grew seriously ill. By the time it became clear how sick Steve was, it was too late for the couple even to travel out-of-state to get married.

Steve died last week – on September 10th, 2013. He was 32.

“People are dying without being equal,” said Robb. “I don’t understand it, and Steve never did understand it. And he never will.”

The video concludes with the message “Marriage can’t wait.  For Steven Rynes, it’s too late.”

Illinois can - and must - do better for the families who call our state home. And loving same-sex couples can’t wait another day for our lawmakers to extend the protections and respect that only marriage can provide.

We are committed, in Steve’s honor, to passing the freedom to marry in Illinois without delay.


Information about the legislation is available at, along with information about how citizens can make their voices heard.  Robert and Steve’s video can be viewed at: