The Illinois House of Representatives has failed to vote on legislation that would have granted marriage rights to same-sex couples in the state.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. January 3, 2013 (AP) - Illinois Senate Democrats are delaying a vote on a plan that would make the state the 10th in the nation to legalize gay marriage.
A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton tells The Associated Press the proposal to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples will get a committee hearing Thursday but there aren’t currently enough votes to pass it on the floor.
Spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon says she doesn’t know how many votes there are for the plan or when it might be called. Some Democrats were not in attendance Thursday. Phelon says no Republicans supported it.
Cullerton’s Democrats have 35 seats in the Senate — five more votes than needed for passage.
The Legislature is in lame-duck session until Jan. 9, when the new session is sworn-in.
Illinois would be the 10th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
President Barack Obama is urging the Illinois General Assembly to legalize gay marriage in his home state as lawmakers are poised to take up the measure as early as this week in Springfield.
"While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect," White House spokesman Shin Inouye told the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday.
"As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so. Were the President still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally," Inouye said.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said Monday that a special election will be held to fill the congressional seat vacated by former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who stepped down last week amid an ethics probe and ongoing health problems.
Quinn said a primary election would be held on February 26, which coincides with an already-scheduled local primary election, and proposed setting April 9 as the date for the general election to coincide with another previously-scheduled vote.
The governor’s statement said Quinn was working with state lawmakers to establish April 9 as the date of the general election, rather than an earlier date, since it falls outside the 115-day period established by state law to schedule a special election date.