The next step in the path to Illinois becoming the 10th state in the US to make gay marriage legal will come next Tuesday (26 February) when it is to be considered by the House Executive Committee.
The committee is comprised of seven Democrats and four Republicans. At least six of the members must vote in favor of sending the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act to the full House for a vote.
Since the Illinois State Senate passed the marriage equality bill by a vote of 34-21 last week, a full House vote would be the final step before Illinois Governor Pat Quinn can sign gay marriage into law.
At least 60 House members must vote ‘yes’ to pass the legislation for it to move on to the governor.
Illinois already allows civil unions. It is believed legalizing marriage equality could generate the state anywhere from $39 to $72 million and up to $8 million in new tax revenues.
But the marriage bill has seen strong criticism from religious and far right-wing groups.