The future of gay couples' right to marry in Illinois could very well, as god intended, rely on the automobile industry. Illinois Senators have attached the legalization of gay marriage as an amendment to House Bill 4963, which itself amends the state's Collateral Recovery Act. Feasibly, a bill which seeks to "define 'automobile rental company'" could also end up defining marriage in the nation's fifth largest state.
The bizarre move comes after Senate Republicans succeeded in blocking the bill from getting a first hearing Wednesday. So, as a last ditch effort, the bill's champion, Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago, has tacked legalization of gay marriage as an amendment to another bill that was already scheduled for a vote Thursday. Illinois' General Assembly is in its last days.
With the addition of this amendment, gay marriage could be legalized in the state of Illinois as early as today. Though, Equality Illinois' CEO Bernard Cherkasov tells the Windy City Times the fight is far from over.
"Everything can change at a moment's notice," said Cherkasov. "It's still absolutely crucial that people contact their lawmakers."
Gay marriage is currently legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, Maryland, Vermont, Washington, New York and the District of Columbia. Illinois currently allows civil unions which grant some rights to gay couples, but not all those afforded to heterosexual couples.