Legislation introduced to the Illinois House of Representatives last week would amend the state’s constitution to prohibit same sex marriages.
The bill was introduced by Republicans state Rep. David Reis, who told the Quad City Times that the issue “should not be decided in the courts.” If passed by the Illinois legislature, the proposed constitutional amendment would be placed on the ballot for the 2014 general election.
Same sex marriages are currently not recognized in Illinois. The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal have both recently challenged the constitutionality of denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.
Last month, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez both refused to defend the law in court.
Illinois legalized civil unions for same sex couples last year, granting them some of the legal rights of married couples, such as for inheritance or hospital visits. But LGBT rights advocates said civil unions — while being a positive step forward — had substantial weaknesses.
“In following experiences of thousands of couples in civil unions over the past year, we confirmed what we always suspected to be true: that creating a separate institution to provide substantially the same rights did not add up to full equality under the law,” Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, said.
Thirty states have amended their constitutions to prohibit same sex marriages, while 6 states and the District of Columbia allow same sex couples to marry.
[Marriage equality via Shutterstock]