Illinois becomes 16th state to allow same-sex marriage
November 20th, 2013
06:47 PM ET
10 months ago

Illinois becomes 16th state to allow same-sex marriage

(CNN) - Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act on Wednesday, making Illinois the 16th state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

Quinn, a Democrat, called the act a "triumph of democracy, a triumph of a government of the people, that we believe in liberty and equality - and we're making sure that's part of our law."

The Illinois governor said it was "meaningful" that Tuesday marked the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address - a speech, "dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." Fittingly, Quinn signed the bill at a desk once used by the 16th president.

The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act passed both houses of the state's General Assembly earlier this month. The measure will go into effect June 14, 2014.

When the bill passed the Illinois legislature, President Barack Obama praised his home state for approving the bill, saying at the time that he "always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally under the law."

"Over time, I also came to believe that same-sex couples should be able to get married like anyone else," the President said earlier this month.

Illinois previously allowed for same-sex unions and now joins 15 other states in legalizing same-sex marriage. Same sex-marriage was already approved in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington - as well as the District of Columbia. Colorado and Hawaii allow civil unions.

Hawaii was the most recent state to approve same-sex marriage. Gov. Neil Abercrombie, also a Democrat, signed the state's legislation on November 15 and the law will go into effect December 2.

"I think that we understand, in our state, that part of our unfinished business is to help other states in the United States of America achieve marriage equality," Quinn said on Wednesday.

"We want to have a new birth of freedom across America so that all 50 states in our nation have marriage equality, and love is not relegated to a second-class status for any citizen in our country."


Filed under: Illinois • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. ladies first

    shut up about it already move on no one is letting this affect them

    November 20, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  2. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    The right wing is still fighting this losing battle?

    November 20, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  3. Dylan

    16 pull their heads out, 34 to go.

    November 20, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  4. Skeptacular

    I'm glad. When it is nationwide and the optimists dominate, we can celebrate.

    November 20, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. DK

    And here's my first comment in case it didn't go through:
    A couple of corrections to the article: Hawaii's governor signed the bill into law on November 13 (not 15). And I'm not sure if the writer meant to say "Colorado and Hawaii allow civil unions" since Hawaii has legalized same-sex marriage. Hawaii did allow civil unions (and I guess still does...). Colorado does allow civil unions, but so does Oregon, Nevada, and Wisconsin, although they call them "domestic partnerships." And I've seen Wisconsin's referred to as "limited" domestic partnerships, whatever that means.

    November 20, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  6. Bartskibeat

    This is a step in the right direction, as it sends a message to religious extremists & garden variety bigots, that homosexual citizens & taxpayers are valued citizens. The religious right , with all due respect; will not likely ever grasp the reality that freedom of religion does not include the right to deny, diminish, or eliminate; the rights of others..Beliefs have consequences, & the utter lack of ethics seen in those who still have no qualms about spreading lies, slander & defamation about gay men, which have been disproved years ago.And, there is no question that their proselytizing abroad has lead to the pending & draconian laws against African gays .They create a mindset that inevitably leads to violence & bloodshed. And, it appears that another defining moment for conservatives came during the recently held Values Voters Summit. When speaker Glen Beck made reference to the pink triangle that gay European men had to wear during WWII under the Third Reich, it is reported that the audience in attendance burst out laughing. (Thousands of homosexual men were sent to the death camps to be exterminated.)

    November 20, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  7. Liz the First

    Yea, Illinois!!! one more state that values all its citizens and their basic human rights. so sad that these victories have to come state by state, but wonderful that more states are coming around to realizing government has no business discriminating against a segment of it's citizens. "with liberty and justice for all" means ALL.

    November 20, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  8. Aurthor

    Now that's progress.

    November 20, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  9. Simon Lloyd

    Another state stands up for justice and freedom from religion. Boobam!
    America actually living the values it preaches for once.

    November 20, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  10. vikingwoman

    Hurrah for Equality! It's a beautiful thing! Next though, while I have the utmost respect for our fore fathers, I hope we can change the outdated 'all men are created equal' to 'all Humans are created equal'! Women had no rights of their own when phrases such as that was written, but we do now, so why exclude us continuously w/ outdated language! Some may say it doesn't matter, because we know it means everybody, but when it was written it ment the literal interpretation! Women were not equal & not part of the equation! An update is in order in the 21st century, IMHO!!

    November 20, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  11. Name

    Man u dems sure love free hand outs and gay people. Gotta love this country!!!!!!!!

    November 20, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  12. Bubba

    Dumb as rocks Conservatives should have left this one alone. They sought to amend the Constitution to prohibit Gay Marriage, and now 16 States allow it, and in some of those states the Gays can smoke some legal weed to celebrate.
    It seems like everything Conservatives take a stand on turns to dung.

    November 21, 2013 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  13. rss

    never in arizona

    November 21, 2013 03:41 am at 3:41 am |
  14. Rubbishandcrap

    Congrats Illinois.

    November 21, 2013 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  15. Enough is Enough

    Disgusting! It is not and never will be marriage....call it whatever you want.....it is simply an attempt to legitimize a perversion. Whay's next? Marrying your dog?

    November 21, 2013 07:20 am at 7:20 am |