Illinois Governor Quinn Says Civil Unions Possible in State by 2011

GovernorPatQuinn-IllinoisElection2010Illinois Governor Gov. Pat Quinn told the Daily Herald yesterday that civil unions could be passed into law in the state by the time “Christmas comes around” and promised not to oppose expanding marriage to gay people if “the voters of Illinois want to have it come to pass“:

“The votes are there, I believe,” Quinn said. “In the Senate for sure, and definitely I think we can do it in the House. He called himself a “strong advocate of civil unions, which would give partners the same rights and responsibilities to adoption, emergency health care decisions and property ownership, among other things, that married couples have.

While he believes there is enough support among Democrats and Republicans for a new General Assembly to pass the measure in 2011, he said he thinks it will be taken up before then, during the fall veto session.

“I think we can pass it this year. I would like to see it voted on earlier, Quinn said.

Civil union legislation has “passed out of committee last spring, but has not yet been called for a vote.” State Rep. Greg Harris, who has sponsored legislation to legalize civil unions in Illinois, “was hesitant to say whether he believed he had enough votes for the measure in the upcoming veto session, which starts Nov. 16.”

LGBT groups in the state remain optimistic, however. In August, Equality Illinois’ Rick Garcia predicted that it will be easy to get the bill (SB 1716) through the House when lawmakers return to Springfield in November. Currently, at least 10 states recognize some form of civil union.