— Brian Cassella (@briancassella) November 6, 2013
Writer and NPR program host Peter Sagal may have said it best.
“FINALLY,” he wrote on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. “It was totally embarrassing that Iowa was gayer than we were.”
We’re still gayer than Illinois (don’t tell Sagal), but in case you haven’t heard, he’s referencing the fact that Illinois will soon become the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Our neighbors to the east have finally done it! And for the first time ever, they’re the ones that are four years late to the party. It’s a victory for same-sex couples in Illinois and egos across the state of Iowa.
The Illinois House of Representatives passed the measure Tuesday with a vote of 61-54-2, giving it just enough support to head back to the Senate for a quick signoff. The Senate had already approved the bill earlier this year, and needed only to update the bill’s effective date before sending it off to Governor Pat Quinn.
Quinn said he will sign the bill. Once signed, same-sex couples will be able to get married starting in June of next year.
The bill changes Illinois’ definition of marriage, redefining it as an act between two “people” rather than one between a “man and a woman.” Civil unions will be able to convert to marriages, the bill stipulates.
In a statement released by the White House Tuesday evening, President Barack Obama lauded Illinois lawmakers for their efforts.
“Our journey as a nation is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” Obama said. “And tonight, I’m so proud that the men and women elected to serve the people of the great state of Illinois have chosen to take us one step further on that journey to perfect our union.”