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Illinois Lawmakers Say They Have Votes For Gay Marriage

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Two Illinois lawmakers say they're within "striking distance" of getting legislative approval for gay marriage and hope to send a bill to Gov. Pat Quinn shortly after the new year.

Rep. Greg Harris and Sen. Heather Steans say they'll call for a vote on a gay marriage bill when the Legislature reconvenes in January. The Chicago Democrats say public opinion favoring equal rights for same-sex partners is moving rapidly. The fact that four states voted in favor of the issue or opposed a ban on it in November helps.

"We are hearing a real shift in tone and dialog amongst our colleagues, too. We think we’re in striking distance and really want to build on this momentum," Steans said.

Harris successfully brought civil unions to Illinois in June 2011. He and Steans say a gay marriage law wouldn't interfere with religious beliefs or force places of worship to recognize same-sex marriages.

Earlier this week, Governor Pat Quinn told reporters he hopes to get the bill in January. But he said the issue may be more contested in the House than the Senate. A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan says the legislation is under review.

The bill is HB5170.

Some reporting from WBEZ's Tony Arnold was used in this report.

Follow Bill Raack on Twitter: @billraack


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