The race to become the 10th marriage-equality state just got more interesting, as both the Illinois and Rhode Island legislatures are on track to take final votes this month.
In a surprise development, Rhode Island Senate President Teresa Weed acknowledged to a Providence Journal reporter that she would allow a floor vote on the marriage-equality bill by the end of the month. Weed, who is opposed to the bill, had previously promised only to allow a Senate committee vote if the bill passed the House. The marriage-equality bill passed the Rhode Island House in January on a 51 to 19 vote.
Weed press spokesman Greg Pare confirmed this week that Weed plans to bring the bill to a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee soon after the legislature returns from its spring break next week. He said Weed also committed to allow a floor vote a “couple of days after that,” before the end of this month.
Meanwhile, the Illinois House is also looking at the real possibility of taking its historic vote on marriage equality this month. The Senate passed the legislation in February on a 34-21 vote.
As of Tuesday, April 9, Equality Illinois leader Bernard Cherkasov said he didn’t have a timeline for when the House vote might happen, but added, “I do feel confident that the marriage bill will pass with strong bipartisan support.”
The Illinois House has 118 members, 71 Democrats and 47 Republicans. The bill needs 60 votes to pass. According to the Associated Press, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn told reporters Monday,
April 8, that supporters of the legislation are “very close” to getting the votes they need.