Supporters Rally at Statehouse
6:13 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Same Sex Marriage Bill Falls Short in Illinois

A last-minute push to legalize same sex marriage fell apart in the Illinois Capitol. Supporters in the  Senate said they're a few votes shy of getting it through, even though supporters rallied in the Statehouse.

The Illinois Capitol
The Illinois Capitol

"All this movement forward right now, it really confirms to me that marriage equality is the defining civil rights movement of our time, and now Illinois has the chance to be on the right side of history today," said actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson from the TV comedy Modern Family.

But he made that comment early in the day, and as the day wore on it became clear backers of gay marriage were short of the 30 votes it would take to pass the measure. The likely supporters missing from the chamber were one senator who was out of the country, another whose mother just died, and a third who has a family health issue.  

"The windows are closing a little bit on our ability to get marriage equality done right now," said Bernard Cherkasov, Director of the gay-rights group Equality Illinois. 

A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton issued a statement saying it's "clear that we will need bipartisan support" for gay marriage. She said they'll "take some time" to work on the issue and advance it "in the near future."

That could be next week, or in the next legislative session.

Thanks to Illinois Public Radio