Same-sex marriage bill heads to Illinois state Senate floor
(Reuters) - A panel of Illinois lawmakers voted on Thursday to send legislation legalizing gay marriage in President Barack Obama's home state to the floor of the state Senate, setting up a possible vote on the issue next week.
The 8-5 vote by the Senate Executive Committee fell along party lines, with the panel's Democratic majority supporting the measure and its Republican minority opposing it.
Although the Democratic-controlled Senate adjourned late on Thursday, lawmakers said the bill likely would be called on Tuesday when the Senate returns for a special session.
The Democratic-led state House of Representatives may take up the legislation next week as well. If the bill is approved by the Legislature and signed by Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois would become the 10th state along with the District of Columbia to legalize same sex-nuptials and the first Midwest state to do so through legislation.
Iowa's Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2009.
Spectators in the crowded committee room gave the committee a standing ovation after the measure passed, with many embracing and trading high-fives.
"This is a great feeling; we feel it's about time," said Theresa Volpe, 47, of Chicago, who testified before the committee along with her partner of 21 years, Mercedes Santos. They have two children, Ava, 8, and Jaidon, 4.
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