Illinois could approve gay marriage, supporters say - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Illinois could approve gay marriage, supporters say

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Both sides in the debate over gay marriage are preparing for a showdown in the State Capitol sometime after New Year's Day.

A number of legislators who voted for the same-sex civil union's bill in the 2010 lame-duck session said, at the time, they opposed gay marriage. Gay rights activists, though, say they hope this month's election was a game changer.

State Representative Greg Harris said the majority votes on Nov. 6th in favor of gay marriage in Maryland, Maine and Washington State reflect trends also present here in Illinois.

"It is not people who are undecided making up their minds," says Harris. "These are people who've been opposed in the past who are now saying to themselves, ‘You know, I can't think of a legitimate reason to treat one child in the house next door differently than the other when they grow up and want to get married.'"

A list of reasons why marriage should only be between a man and a woman is now going out to every Catholic school and parish. Cardinal Francis George and other Bishops in the Illinois Catholic conference have created a new Defense of Marriage team to work at the grassroots. Opponents acknowledge that any vote in Springfield could be close.

"They've gained a few numbers on Nov. 6th, there's no question about that," says Paul Caprio of Illinois Family PAC. "Although there will be a lot of commotion and fanfare about this, we expect to defeat this bill this coming session."

There's another front in the fight. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sophia Hall is expected soon to rule on a lawsuit challenging as unconstitutional Illinois's ban on gay marriage.

Illinois is one of eight states nationally being targeted by gay rights groups--states where they plan a major push to legalize gay marriage.

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