Illinois is poised to become the 15th state to legalize same sex marriage.
On Valentines Day earlier this year the state Senate passed SB10, the bill that would legalize gay marriage in the state of Illinois, but the House never voted on the bill before they adjourned for summer break. Supporters were discouraged, but never gave up hope.
“I think it was a pretty major disappointment the day the legislature decided not to vote,” says Reverend Timoth Slyvia, Pastor of HOPE United Church of Christ. “But I haven’t seen it really affect people’s intent to keep that work going. And I think in the back of our minds that one day that equality will be there.”
That day has finally come in Illinois after the House called SB10 for a vote and it passed 61 to 54. For local couple Barbara O’Meara and Beth Wendt it means more for them because of the three kids they have together.
“It means more to us because of the kids. If one of us died it would be unfair to the kids and equal protection under the law takes away that fear,” said O’Meara.
“It’s about our children. There are certain civil protections we didn’t have when our marriage wasn’t recognized,” said Wendt.
All of Naperville’s state representatives voted no for the bill.
O’Meara and Wendt say they haven’t faced a lot of discrimination in Naperville, and are still happy to call this community home.
“I was a little disappointed to see no one from here supported it, but we had meetings with them and one of them said he understood he was against the wave but that’s where he was at and we appreciated his honesty,” said O’Meara.
The state of Illinois will turn current civil unions into marriages if couples wish.
Barbara and Beth have been together 21 years and their relationship will finally be validated in the eyes of the law in the state they call home.
When Governor Quinn signs the bill the law will take effect June 1.
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