The Senate voted on legislation that would make Illinois the tenth state in the country to legalize the practice this afternoon in Springfield. The margin was 34 to 21, with two abstentions.
Only one Republican voted in favor of the measure. State Senator Sam McCann voted “no.” He says there were several reasons for doing so, including listening to his constituents.
“The vast majority that have contacted me about this issue asked me to vote no,” he says. “I personally also believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.”
McCann adds Senate Bill 10 doesn’t go far enough in protecting religious freedom and places of worship.
“I’m afraid of where we’re heading. We were told two years ago when civil unions passed that there would be no negative consequences on organized religion and then of course now we have Catholic Charities out of the adoption business,” McCann says. “And there’s been a few other cases that we can point to.”
State Senator John Sullivan was one of three Democratic legislators to vote against the bill.
Bill sponsor, State Senator Heather Steans of Chicago, says she lEarned a lot from her experience working with the House sponsor, who is openly gay.
“You hear stories about the haters out there and what that’s like, but having to walk through this bill with him, I felt it myself,” says Steans. “It’s very humbling to see what kind of discrimination really is put on people and the kind of hatred that can be there for no choice of that person’s own.”
The bill now goes to the House, where it’s expected to have a tougher time passing. Governor Pat Quinn has said he’ll sign it if it goes to his desk.