A panel of state senators is scheduled to take up the issue Tuesday. State Senator Heather Steans is the sponsor of the bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois. She says she wants the state to approve it before the U.S. Supreme Court hears a case later this year on the federal government’s ban on gay marriage.
“If that gets overturned, then couples who have access to marriage will have access to the 1,100-plus benefits that come with marriage. And if we only have civil union here, those couples will not have access to all those benefits. So I do believe there’s a sense of urgency.” - Sen. Heather Steans
The president of the Senate has said same-sex marriage will be easier to pass in the Senate than in the House.
Last month - lawmakers tried to legalize gay marriage before the winners from November’s election were sworn in - but failed to get the necessary support.
Illinois Public Radio's Tony Arnold contributed to this report