The measure passed the Illinois House earlier this month by a narrow margin 61-54; It needed 60 votes to pass. But none of the opposition or slim margin was evident Wednesday at the event where the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus performed and Lincoln’s desk was lined with patriot bunting.
“We’re here to celebrate, family, commitment, equality, love, courage and community,” Harris told the crowd to enthusiastic applause.
Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, a Republican, praised the three House GOP members who voted in favor of the measure.
“History will show that we got it right on this one,” she said before telling the crowd, “I am available to be a flower girl, and I’ll even waive the fee.”
When the law takes effect June 1, same-sex couples can begin applying for marriage licenses. And officials in Cook County —the state’s most populous — have even said the facilities will be open for business that day even though it’s a Sunday. There’s a small chance weddings could take place before then; Legislation is pending that could change the effective date to immediately. Lawmakers aren’t expected to come back to Springfield until January’s end.
In the meantime, Illinois couples have already started planning.
Aimee Woolery from the Chicago suburb of Berwyn, has been with her partner for 15 years and attended the bill signing with the couple’s two children.
“For us, it’s the family piece of it, they get some more security,” Woolery said, explaining that the couple decided against a civil union when Illinois legalized them. “We were holding out for marriage in Illinois.”
Her 9-year-old daughter, Graysen, said she is excited for her moms to wed.
“I want him to be the ring bearer,” she said pointing to her little brother. “And I want to be the flower girl.”