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Gay Marriage to Be Legal in Illinois

Illinois’ House of Representatives passed a bill to allow same-sex couples to be married, becoming the fifteenth state to do so just weeks after same-sex marriage became legal in New Jersey.

The bill was passed with a majority vote of 61 to 54, the decision following partisan lines with just three votes from Republicans. Illinois had previously allowed civil unions for same sex couples.

“In Illinois, we tried civil unions and that separate status has time and time again proved to fall short,” said State Representative Greg Harris, a sponsor of the bill.

While the decision from the House leaves much to be celebrated, many members of Illinois’ LGBT community were left frustrated by the delay in the decision. Much of the surprise came from the fact that both the Senate and the House of the Prairie State were democrat controlled. President Barack Obama, a former member of the Illinois Senate, had even personally voiced his support this year.

“We were aiming for this to happen a year ago,” said Bernard Cherkasov, the chief executive of  Equality Illinois. “In many ways, it has taken longer than we expected.”

The measure was passed through the Senate back in February, but had to be voted again due to procedural reasons. In May, at the end of the House of Representative’s regular session, voting of the bill was delayed because there was not enough support to pass it. After the Senate made the changes the House made on Tuesday, the bill was sent to Gov. and Democrat Pat Quinn.After commenting that he will be signing the bill, it was announced that same-sex couples could begin marrying on June 1.

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*This article was originally published on buckinghampost.com