SPRINGFIELD — The same-sex marriage measure that narrowly cleared the Senate last week might see more difficulty winning approval in the House.
Gov. Pat Quinn acknowledged during a stop last week in Normal that the measure currently lacks the necessary 60 votes for passage. But he told reporters he plans to contact members of the House individually to seek their support, similar to what he did when he lobbied members to approve the civil unions law in 2010.
“There’s still persuasion to do in the House,” Quinn said.
The pending vote on gay marriage comes just two years after the General Assembly approved a law legalizing civil unions between same-sex couples. Of the 61 who approved the measure in the House at the time, just 36 remain. That leaves supporters needing to round up at least 24 more “yes” votes.
Many of the newer members of the House say they are opposed to gay marriage.
State Rep. Adam Brown, R-Champaign, was sworn into office just 12 hours after the lame-duck legislature voted in favor of civil unions in 2010.
Not only would he have voted against legalizing civil unions, but he said he also opposes gay marriage.
“I believe marriage is a holy union between one man and one woman and I’ll continue to stand behind that position,” Brown said.
“I would say 99 percent of my constituency, those who have contacted me, is against gay marriage,” Brown said. “My job is to represent my constituents and uphold what they believe.”
State Rep Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, said she thinks legalizing same-sex marriage is premature.
“We’ve had civil unions and it hasn’t even been two years,” Scherer said. “The purpose of the civil union was to give people in this situation the rights they felt they deserved. I think that needs to have time to go through the system before we go further.”
State Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, one of four openly gay lawmakers who co-sponsored the proposal, did not indicate when votes will be taken in the full House. He said he is confident the measure will be approved.
“I think it will do very well because I think we’re being very careful to be respectful of protecting religious freedom and also treating all Illinoisans equally under the eyes of the law,” Harris said.
“This is an issue where people have strong feelings, so we need to educate people about both sides,” Harris said. “We respect all religions in this bill, but we also respect all families in this bill … as soon as we explain those things, people will realize it’s a good vote.”
The proposal is next scheduled for the House Executive Committee on Tuesday.
The legislation is Senate Bill 10.