But same-sex couples will not be able to get married in the state until next June
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has put an end to the suspense: he will sign gay marriage into law on 20 November.
‘Marriage equality is coming to Illinois,’ Quinn said in a statement Thursday (7 November). ‘I look forward to signing this landmark legislation … and celebrating a big step forward with the people of Illinois.’
Quinn’s announcement comes two days after the House of Representatives voted 61-54 to make Illinois the 15th state in the US to legalize same-sex marriage. The Senate, which had passed gay marriage earlier in the year, quickly voted to approve amendments to the legislation.
The set the stage for Quinn who has all along said he planned to sign gay marriage into law as soon as it was passed by both houses of the state legislature.
While governors in other states have been quicker to sign such marriage bills into law this year – some as soon as the same day as the vote – Quinn prefers to do so as part of a planned celebration.
The governor can afford to take some time since the gay marriage law does not go into effect in Illinois until 1 June, 2014.
The House vote on Tuesday afternoon ended months of intense lobbying following bitter disappointment last May when Democratic Rep. Greg Harris – the sponsor of the bill – did not bring it to a vote because he did not have the votes to win.