Plans for Illinois same-sex marriages in the works – Houston Chronicle

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Just a few hours after state lawmakers approved same-sex marriage in Illinois, Chicago wedding planner Lindsay Parrott started getting her first inquiries for summer weddings.

“I got an email at 11 p.m.,” she said. “Everybody is really excited to be able to do this.”

From the wedding industry to tourism, Illinois businesses are gearing up for June 1, the first day that same-sex marriage licenses can be issued under legislation approved by lawmakers on Tuesday. While legislators in favor and the state’s top elected officials have touted gay marriage as a matter of equality and civil rights, businesses hope the start of weddings will be a nice boost to the state’s economy too. But that start date — which falls on a Sunday — also is causing some logistical problems for the state’s county clerks who’ll be issuing marriage licenses.

Illinois is set to become the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage when Gov. Pat Quinn signs the bill, which the Chicago Democrat said Wednesday he’ll do with a festive celebration this month. The measure says that starting June 1, all Illinois couples can go about the usual way of getting married: Head to the county clerk’s office, get a license and then have it officiated a day later by the government or religious official.

However, businesses and tourism officials say it means that Illinois can expand a niche business too. They cite a 2013 study by UCLA’s The Williams Institute that says allowing same-sex couples to marry in Illinois would generate up to $103 million in new spending in the first three years.

The Illinois Office of Tourism beefed up its website Wednesday to promote gay-friendly spots in Illinois. State travel director Jen Hoelzle said the site will soon include a list of places to get married once the bill is signed. The Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, which already promotes Chicago’s gay-friendly neighborhoods and events such as the city’s massive Pride Parade, expects more hotel and restaurant business.

via Plans for Illinois same-sex marriages in the works – Houston Chronicle.

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Illinois lawmakers approve gay marriage in historic vote –

Lawmakers approved gay marriage Tuesday in a historic vote that saw supporters overcome cultural, racial and geographic divides and put Illinois in line with a growing number of states that have extended the right to wed to same-sex couples.

After more than a year of intense lobbying by both sides, gay lawmakers made emotional pleas to colleagues to give their families equal rights even as opponents argued that doing so would unravel the foundation of society.

“At the end of the day, what this bill is about is love, it’s about family, it’s about commitment,” said sponsoring Rep. Greg Harris, clutching an American flag he said was sent by a supportive soldier stationed in Afghanistan.

“At the end of the day, this bill is about the vision that the founders of our country had and wrote into our Constitution, where they said America is a journey. … And we’ll continue to walk down that road to make America a better place, to make ourselves a ‘more perfect union,’ to ensure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,” the Chicago Democrat said.

Gov. Pat Quinn said he intends to sign the bill, which would take effect June 1

via Illinois lawmakers approve gay marriage in historic vote –

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The Marriage Equality Movement Could Change Dramatically In The Next Two Weeks

WASHINGTON — It’s been less than four months since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and put an end to California’s marriage amendment, but advocates have been busy over the summer — setting the stage for a very busy two weeks that could rock the marriage equality landscape and change the country.

The calendar for the rest of the month is packed with a dizzying array of potential developments: decisions and movement in lawsuits that are multiplying by the week, possible votes from lawmakers being prodded to action by governors in their states, and — for the state of New Mexico — a hearing at the state Supreme Court to resolve once and for all whether same-sex couples can marry in a state that doesn’t specifically ban or allow such marriages.

The coming weeks also will feature the first action in the federal appellate courts since the Supreme Court rulings, with a filing in the 9th Circuit in a challenge to Nevada’s marriage law. The quick reemergence of a marriage case at the appellate level is notable because that’s the path back to the Supreme Court, where marriage equality advocates are still seeking a ruling that would bring marriage equality to all 50 states.

From a Wednesday hearing in Michigan to a hearing regarding a challenge to Virginia’s marriage law on Oct. 29, here’s what you need to know:

via The Marriage Equality Movement Could Change Dramatically In The Next Two Weeks.

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Minneapolis mayor courts Chicago’s gay couples to marry in his city –

When it comes to economic development, it is not unusual for some chief executives of states to sneak across a border or two to try to poach some jobs. The usual pitch, however, involves tax breaks, available land and a well-trained workforce.

But Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is counting on love to make a difference.

As part of his “I Want to Marry You in Minneapolis” tour, Rybak on Thursday went to a predominantly gay neighborhood in Chicago to remind people that they can visit their nearby neighbor of Minnesota for a while, or at least long enough to marry, because same-sex marriage has been legal since Aug. 1.

Illinois does not allow same-sex marriages, and nor do the other states, Colorado and Wisconsin, that the mayor plans on visiting soon to drum up business.

“Chicago is my kind of town, but it’s a second city in human rights, and right now that gives a tremendous competitive advantage to Minneapolis,” Rybak said.

via Minneapolis mayor courts Chicago’s gay couples to marry in his city –

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Marriage Equality in Illinois: Hurry Up and Wait | WCHI News

In light of the passing of marriage equality laws in 12 states plus the District of Columbia, a microscope seems to be on Illinois to see if legislators and Governor Quinn will support their fellow Illinoisan, President Obama.  On May 29th, Obama raised the issue at a fundraising dinner in Chicago when he said of the pending marriage equality bill in the Illinois State House, “I just want to say for the record it’s something that I deeply respect.”

Obama reiterated his support in his speech last Thursday during an annual Gay Pride reception held at the White House, saying that it was time for marriage equality.  “(I)t’s clear we’re reaching a turning point. We’ve become not just more accepting; we’ve become more loving, as a country, and as a people.”

“I’ll continue to support marriage equality and states’ attempts to legalize it, including in my home state of Illinois. We’re not giving up on that,” he later added.

Many Illinois lawmakers remain undecided and certainly feel the pressure but refuse to make their intentions known.  Marriage equality supporters appear to have good cause for worry.

In the waning moments of the legislative session, Representative Greg Harris announced that the sixty votes needed to pass the bill simply weren’t there and that his colleagues needed more time to vote.  Harris is the sponsor of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.  Later, in an interview with Center Square Journal, the northside Chicagoan said, “at the eleventh hour, some members who had said they were inclined to vote yes became very nervous.” He added, “back in their district forces who oppose equality had been…saying the bill was going to attack religious freedom and take the rights away from churches – those kinds of things are not true.”

Pastors Larry Trotter and former State Senator Rev. James Meeks, from the African-American Clergy Association said that it was a victory…that the bill was not called for a vote for “the God-fearing Black Caucus members”.  Harris indicated that forces that “try to drive a wedge between the gay community and other progressives” cannot be allowed to succeed, citing the Black and Latino communities.

As it currently stands, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, having passed in the Illinois Senate in February, has been extended to August 31, with possible further extension into the veto seesion in late October and early November.  The good news for supporters is that Governor Quinn has agreed to sign the bill.


via Marriage Equality in Illinois: Hurry Up and Wait | WCHI News.

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What will be 10th marriage-equality state?

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.

via What will be 10th marriage-equality state?.

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Even before Supreme Court rules, gay marriage battles rage in the states – U.S. News

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to tackle gay marriage in a matter of months, but legislative action this week in Rhode Island and Illinois shows that supporters aren’t in wait-and-see mode.

Buoyed by ballot victories in four states in November, they’re now on the offensive in two more; wins would mean that more than 20 percent of Americans live in places that have approved same-sex marriage.

Opponents are pushing back hard to make sure that doesn’t happen, even as they express confidence that the nation’s high court will rule in their favor when it weighs in on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

“Everyone is looking at the Supreme Court. What happens then defines a lot of more about what happens next in the fight,” said Bill Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage.”

“We’re gonna win that and then there’s going to be a state-by-state fight, and our record on that is amazing.”

The scope of any Supreme Court decision is far from clear. They could rule that every American is entitled to the right to same-sex marriage or they could allow states to keep bans on gay marriage or they could do something in between.

In the meantime, gay-marriage advocates are pressing the issue at the state level. In addition to Rhode Island and Illinois, lawmakers in Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey and Rhode Island reportedly could consider the issue later this year.

via Even before Supreme Court rules, gay marriage battles rage in the states – U.S. News.

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