SPRINGFIELD, IL (IRN) – Advocates for same-sex marriage in Illinois believe election results will enable them to make a push.

Bernard Cherkasov, chief executive of the gay-rights group Equality Illinois, says the election results showed same-sex marriage winning in four states: Making same-sex marriage the law in Maine, Maryland and Washington, and preventing a constitutional ban in Minnesota. These are the first statewide victories at the ballot box for supporters of same-sex marriage.

“Here in Illinois itself, we had many candidates throughout the state who supported marriage equality, who ran in tight, competitive races and who won election, including candidates who were endorsed by our own PAC, so that was fantastic,” he said.

Democrats also will have huge majorities in the new General Assembly, but Cherkasov says when there have been advances on gay rights in Illinois and elsewhere, Republicans have joined, and he expects that to be the case on the marriage issue.

Illinois enacted civil unions in 2011, which are, by law, supposed to be the same as marriage, but in practice, they fall short, Cherkasov says, because many in the public do not understand what a civil union is.

He isn’t sure if same-sex marriage can pass in the Veto Session, the Lame Duck session or the next regular session– he says whenever the votes are there in Springfield.


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