Chicago Sun-Times
Staff reports on all things politics - from City Hall to Springfield to Washington, D.C.

Same-sex marriage: Tense crowd awaits vote

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Months of lobbying, robo-calls, polls and other kinds of wooing have led us to the final hours of the session. With dozens of people waiting in the Illinois House gallery, there's a large question looming: Will the Illinois House call same-sex marriage for a vote?

Reporters are asking lawmakers; lawmakers are asking reporters. Lobbyists and advocates are seated outside the Speaker's office, hands folded in laps or legs bouncing.

The House gallery, meanwhile, is teeming with people here to watch the debate. For the last several hours, people are snaking down the steps in line, hoping someone will vacate a seat and let them in.

Meanwhile, there's talk that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is making behind-the-scenes calls to move some votes.

If Illinois is to pass same-sex marriage legislation, it will become the 13th state to do so.

Opposition has not been quiet, including from a portion of the African American community. Rev. James Meeks has recorded two rounds of robo-calls urging a "no" vote on the issue.

Sponsor Greg Harris (D-Chicago) has said he believes the bill has enough support to pass. He needs 60 votes. Just two Republicans are publicly on board with voting yes.

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