SPRINGFIELD — Thousands of gay rights advocates descended on the Capitol Tuesday hoping to convince hold-out members of the House to make Illinois the 15th state to legalize marriage between same-sex couples.

But, despite a raucous crowd and a big-name line-up of speakers including U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, Gov. Pat Quinn, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, the proposal appears to remain short of the needed 60 votes to become law.

The measure’s chief sponsor, state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, told reporters he has not yet scheduled the measure for a vote during the six-day veto session, which began Tuesday

“I hesitate to talk about timing or roll calls,” Harris said.

Asked if he was waiting to call the legislation until after the December deadline for candidates to file for the primary election – a move that could appease fence-sitting lawmakers worried about picking up an opponent – Harris said the same excuse could be said of waiting until after the March election to vote.

The rally on the grounds of the Capitol marked the beginning of the legislature’s fall veto session, in which lawmakers will be again faced with tough votes on overhauling the state’s underfunded pension systems and a controversial proposal aimed at cracking down on gun violence in Chicago.

David Bentlin of the Prairie Pride Coalition helped bring a busload of supporters from Bloomington-Normal to the Capitol grounds. He said the delays in bringing the issue up for a vote were beginning to irritate gay advocates.

“There is a general level of frustration. We want to see some results,” Bentlin said.

Not all Tuesday’s action was in the newly renovated Statehouse. Bishop Thomas Paprocki, the head of Springfield’s Roman Catholic diocese, told gay marriage backers that they could not hold a prayer vigil at a Catholic church several blocks south of the Capitol.

In a statement, Paprocki called such a vigil “blasphemy.”

Quinn called gay marriage the “most important” civil rights issue of the day and pledged to sign the legislation if it arrives on his desk.

The governor later sent out a fundraising plea, calling on his supporters to contribute money to the gay rights cause.

Durbin, in his hometown in the aftermath of the federal government shutdown, urged reluctant lawmakers to vote “yes.”

“This is our opportunity to end discrimination in our state against gay and lesbian couples,” Durbin said.

Topinka, the lone Republican to speak at the rally, said gay marriage is not a partisan issue.

“Why should we deny equal rights under the law? This is where history is going. Let’s be part of it,” Topinka said.

While the lobbying by gay activists was front and center Tuesday, opponents of the proposed change are scheduled to be in town Wednesday to try and keep the status quo.

The legislation is Senate Bill 10.


(10) comments


Another media source quoted a more accurate figure being there. HUNDREDS.
And that is more in line with reality. Of course, Potato head Quinn and Dodger Durbin were there.........in front of the cameras of course. And why ? It wasn't because of civil rights.
It wasn't for a healthy family or marriage. It was: based on the way two men or two girls want to have sex. When you dig through all the rhetoric, that IS it. And no matter what are camera loving, self promoting politicians do, most people don't want what they are shoveling.


Natch Chas1, Quinn and Durbin were there, what better place for a "hookup".


"Quinn called gay marriage the “most important” civil rights issue of the day".

If Gov Quinn is comparing gay marriage (a state issue) to the 1964 civil rights protests (a national issue) when the supporters were beaten, shot, murdered, bombed, fire hosed & attacked by police dogs, now know why he is called "Potato Head".

Wasn't the "civil unions" more excepting to the supporters of traditional marriage? Civil union partners could visit them in the hospital, get the partners estate, life insurance policy, get medical benefits & pension from partners employer.

Hospitals don't really enforce the visitation policy hours.
A person could give his/hers estate to whomever, except the couple married in Canada & the surviving partner had to pay $350,000 estate tax to the US. Get rid of the death tax.
Family medical benefits are rapidly disappearing except for govt jobs.& pension is between the employer & employee. Death benefit & life insurance benefit go to whomever the dead person wants.


Why must adults be treated as children or slaves, who have to get permission from their parents or their master to get married? Marriage is an agreement, a contract between two people. As any contract, it should be made freely, a person can have more than one if prior contract allows, and third parties have no obligation to that contract they are not part of.

Although some places required marriage licenses earlier, more generally, the government forced itself into marriage, primarily to prevent freed blacks from marrying whites and to prevent Mormons from having multiple wives (Mormons were given a particularly hard time in Illinois).

The problem is not one of an equal right to marry. There has never been a fundamental right to marry whom one pleases, as the headless wives of Henry VIII can attest to, as poor Henry had no other way to marry whom he wanted. The closest such thing is a fundamental right not to marry. Because government has forced itself into being a party, marriage is a privilege. As a privilege, there is no right by the individuals.

Instead of calling for gay marriage, which is an alien concept in 10,000 years of human history, they should be calling for an end to government participation in marriage and to unravel marriage references in law. Marriage would cease to have legal meaning outside of any explicit written agreement and people could call themselves what they wanted. Since the government would no longer be a party to the agreement, no third party would be required to recognize a contract he is not part of.


Interesting angle on gay marriage......something to think about.

Thanks Gill


If you want the government out of the marriage biz, does that mean you are also willing to give up the marriage tax credit?


I never understood the logic behind the "marriage" credit anyway.


kfvs reports hundreds, you guys report thousands...which one is it.


Correct, from the video channel 3 news showed I don't believe I saw 100


I have read 2300 attended. Definitely more than a few hundred. Here is a pic.


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