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Same-Sex Marriage Bill Advances In Illinois

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Reporting by WBEZ's Tony Arnold.

The bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois is advancing.

For the second time in a month - the Senate Executive Committee approved the legalization of same-sex marriage along party lines.

Lawmakers tried to pass a similar bill before the end of session last month - but failed to get the necessary support.

Today the votes against the measure centered around the same argument as last time: Would religious institutions have to host same-sex marriages on their properties?

"It simply punts the ball and it says these questions will be decided in the future by the courts and that is tremendously unsettling for the state’s churches," says Joe La Rue, who is with a national legal group that advocates for religious liberty.

But Senator Heather Steans, who sponsors the bill, says she doesn’t think those lawsuits will materialize.

"We haven’t seen any since the civil unions was passed and we’re not changing anything," Steans says.

The bill still needs the vote of the full Senate and House. Governor Pat Quinn has said he’d sign it.