Marriage equality passes in the Land of Lincoln, making it the fifteenth state to approve it.
Robyne O’Mara and Lynne Burnett have been together 33 years, and on Tuesday they watched, almost in awe, as Illinois lawmakers cast votes that would make the couple’s decadeslong relationship equal to any other.
“We were just blown away,” O’Mara said after the General Assembly passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. “I think the momentum in our nation has convinced people. It’s been an amazing ride the past several years. We’re so grateful the legislators took it upon themselves and recognized that every citizen has the right to marry.”
Across the state, gay and lesbian couples and their advocates celebrated as Illinois was poised to become the 15th in the country to allow same-sex marriages. The bill will now go to Gov. Pat Quinn, who has said he will sign it into law.
Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of the gay rights group Equality Illinois, reflected on the end of a yearslong legislative battle: “The first thought that popped into my mind was all those families around the state that I’ve met over the past five years in fighting for marriage equality. The couples, their parents, their children, all who have waited for this moment.
“And I thought about my own daughter, who is 4 years old, that she will grow up not knowing that the first four years of her life were spent with the state treating her family as second-class citizens. Instead she will grow up with the equal dignity and respect that she deserves.”
The next states where marriage equality may be happening are Hawai’i and New Mexico.