Governor Pat Quinn has signed into law legislation legalizing same sex marriage. The signing ceremony at the University of Illinois Chicago capped a successful effort to make Illinois the 16th state to allow it. It comes shortly after Hawaii became the 15th. The Illinois legislature passed its bill first, but Hawaii’s governor signed the bill immediately.
Some of the bill signing’s attendees included several couples who hope to get married after the law takes effect in the summer.
Aimee Woolery from the Chicago suburb of Berwyn has been with her partner for 15 years and attended the Wednesday event with the couple’s two children.
She says she and her partner didn’t want a civil union when Illinois legalized them in 2011. They wanted to wait for marriage. The couple’s 9-year-old daughter says she wants to be a flower girl in the wedding.
She’s not the only one.
“History will show that we got it right on this one,” said Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, a Republican. “I just want to end by noting that I am available to be a flower girl and I’ll even waive the fee.”
Jen Dickie Rothke has been with her partner for 13 years and they have a son together. They’re planning a wedding for July. She says that getting married will signify that their family is equal.
Not everyone is in favor of the measure.
“The bill is called the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. But this act is neither free nor fair for people of religious convictions,” said Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel at the Thomas More Society.
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, head of the Springfield Catholic Diocese, held a brief prayer service at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Wendesday afternoon to denounce the bill signing, noting same sex behavior is the devil’s work.
Paprocki urges lawmakers to repeal the law, but that’s unlikely as all four Republican gubernatorial candidates have no interest in doing so.
The law takes effect June 1. The effective date was changed so the bill needed only a simple majority to pass through the House during the legislature’s fall veto session.