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Illinois Making Marriage Equality Push

By Trudy Ring

Illinois activists for LGBT rights are making a home-stretch push for passage of marriage equality legislation, which is expected to come up in the state House of Representatives next week.

The bill has been passed by the state Senate, and Gov. Pat Quinn has promised to sign it. It would make Illinois the 10th U.S. state with marriage equality.

Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago, the bill’s chief House sponsor, sent a letter to supporters throughout the state Thursday emphasizing the need for concentrated activity to assure its passage. “In the final days of this campaign, it’s critical that we  keep up the pressure until  this bill passes. As the House sponsor of the bill, I’m prepared to put it all  on the line until we pass SB10 in the House,” Harris wrote in the letter.

Sen. Heather Steans, the Senate sponsor, also sent out a letter underlining the importance of grassroots support. Other activist efforts include phone banks, postcard mailings, and individual meetings with legislators.

“The commitment and energy of our volunteers is amazing,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of LGBT rights group Equality Illinois. “We can only succeed if people step up to contact their House members and volunteer for this campaign.”

Illinois Unites for Marriage, a coalition including Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, is scheduling phone banks for Monday around the state to urge support for the bill. Prospective volunteers can choose a shift and get more information here.

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