Wednesday afternoon, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) signed marriage equality into law, making Illinois the 16th state to allow same-sex couples to marry. It was originally expected to be the 15th, but Hawaii technically completed the passage of its law first, and that law will take effect before Illinois’. As it stands, Illinois’ law will take effect June 1, 2014, though lawmakers could vote when they reconvene to move the date sooner.
The threshold for marriage equality momentum is approaching a significant barrier. Only five states remain that do not allow same-sex marriage but do not have a constitutional amendment prohibiting the recognition of such unions: Pennsylvania, Wyoming, West Virginia, Indiana, and New Mexico. New Mexico does not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage, and the state Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on whether the marriage licenses being offered to same-sex couples in eight counties are valid. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers in Indiana are expected to advance a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2014, which voters would then consider at the ballot. There now remains only one state — Colorado — that only offers civil unions to same-sex couples.
Peter LaBarbera, president of the anti-gay hate group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, stood alone outside the signing ceremony protesting:
CREDIT: Waymon Hudson