PI Original Angela Caputo Monday February 9th, 2009, 10:47am

Harris Introduces Same-Sex Marriage Bill

His proposal to extend civil
unions to same-sex couples may have stalled in the General Assembly
last year, but state Rep. Greg Harris is pushing back—this time a
little harder.

The Chicago Democrat introduced the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act
last ...

His proposal to extend civil unions to same-sex couples may have stalled in the General Assembly last year, but state Rep. Greg Harris is pushing back—this time a little harder.

The Chicago Democrat introduced the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act last week, which seeks to “to provide eligible same-sex and opposite-sex couples with the same treatment as those in a civil marriage.” More specifically, it requires that an individual in a same-sex marriage be included under the legal definitions: "spouse", "immediate family", and "dependent."

Even before Harris’ same-sex marriage bill surfaced, Illinois conservatives, energized by the defeat of California’s Proposition 8, made it known that they’re gearing up for a 2010 advisory referendum calling for an amendment to the state’s constitution that would restrict marriage to heterosexuals. Apparently it hasn’t registered with members of the coalition leading the charge—the Illinois Family Institute, the Constitution Party of Illinois, Republican Young Professionals and the Family Taxpayers Network—that their bigoted platform doesn’t appeal to Illinois residents: they couldn’t scrounge up enough signatures in 2006 or 2008 to get a similar measure on the ballot.

While Harris’ acknowledges that it’s going to take some hard work to pass the measure, by raising the profile of the debate he’s hoping to bring more and more of his colleagues on board:

“It’s something new for a lot of folks to find these feelings and give it some thought,” Harris said, adding the more people think about it, “the more they understand that it’s a good idea.”

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