Illinois passes marriage equality

Senate Bill 10, the marriage equality bill that was passed by the Illinois State Senate last February, was finally brought to a vote in the General Assembly today in Springfield, and it passed by a margin of 61-54. It now will go back to the senate for reapproval and then to the desk of Gov. Pat Quinn, who was on the floor for the vote this afternoon and has promised to sign the bill into law. It will go into effect on June 1, 2014, making Illinois the 15th state to offer full marriage to same-sex couples.

The road to marriage equality in Illinois has been a long one, through the initial, successful battle for civil unions to the SB-10's chief sponsor in the Assembly, Rep. Greg Harris, tearfully announcing on May 31 to a chamber whose galleries were packed with marriage equality supporters that he wouldn't call the bill before the end of the spring session for lack of votes. As we gear up to celebrate—the Gay Liberation Network has announced a rally on Thursday at 7pm at Halsted and Roscoe in Boystown, though we imagine there'll be plenty of informal jubilation there tonight—here's a look back at some of our coverage.

UPDATE: Sidetrack says it will host leading supporters of the bill for a champagne toast tonight between 8 and 9pm.

October 13, 2008: We look at Illinois couples getting married out-of-state, and the stalled civil unions bill

November 15, 2008: A rally at Federal Plaza, in protest of the passage of Prop 8 in California and for our own prospects, becomes a march through the streets

December 2, 2008: Another look at the civil unions bill's chances in the aftermath of Prop 8

April 3, 2009: Iowa's Supreme Court strikes down that state's ban on same-sex marriage

October 1, 2009: State Sen. Heather Steans introduces a marriage equality bill for Illinois

January 31, 2011: Gov. Quinn signs the "Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act"; in February, we provide a guide to the ins and outs

June 1, 2011: Civil unions take effect; while we celebrated with 30 couples in a mass ceremony in Millennium Park, we were already arguing for more, and profiled three couples who said "no thanks" to anything less than full marriage

February 8, 2012: Reps. Harris, Deb Mell and Kelly Cassidy reintroduce a marriage bill

May 30, 2012: 16 Illinois couples sue for marriage equality

January 10, 2013: We declare victory in the culture wars. We were just a little early.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)