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 On November 20, 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the freedom to marry into law after it was approved by the IL House on November 5 and the IL Senate on February 14. 

A broad-based coalition of marriage supporters in the state formed Illinois Unites for Marriage in order to show legislators in the state that it's time for marriage in Illinois. 

Same-sex couples were scheduled to begin marrying in Illinois on June 1, 2014, but in February 2014, a federal judge ruled that in Cook County, the law must take effect immediately, since anti-marriage laws are unconstitutional. Several other counties followed the order, while other counties waited until June 1.


On January 12, 2011, Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act into law after it was approved by the state legislature in December 2010.  The law provides some protections to same-sex couples and their families, but these protections are no substitute for the full measure of respect, clarity, security, and responsibilities of the freedom to marry. It took effect on June 1, 2011, when the first civil unions in Illinois occurred.

In February 2012, Rep. Greg Harris introduced the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act in the House. Despite vocal support from Gov. Quinn and other critical leaders, including Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, the bill stalled, and in 2013, on January 9, legislators introduced marriage bills in both houses of the IL legislature again.

On February 14, the IL Senate voted in favor of the bill. The marriage bill advanced through a House committee in 2013, but the session ended before the House scheduled a vote for the bil. During the fall veto session, on November 5, 2013, the Illinois House took up the bill and voted in favor of the freedom to marry.

Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill into law on November 20, 2013. 


  • Illinois Unites for Marriage is the statewide coalition working to pass the freedom to marry in the IL state legislature. 
  • Equality Illinois is the central statewide organization working to secure, protect and defend equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Illinois.
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the state Constitution, and state and federal human rights laws. 
  • Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide. 


50% of residents in Illinois support marriage for same-sex couples by a historic 21-point margin. Only 29% are opposed. (Crains/Ipsos, February 2013)


According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 23,049 same-sex couples are living in Illinois, representing 4.8 same-sex couples per 1,000 households. 

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