The Illinois Senate has voted to legalize same-sex marriage, advancing a proposal that would make the state the 10th in the nation allowing same-sex couples to wed. In a 34-21 vote today, lawmakers approved a measure to lift a state ban on same-sex marriage. Bloomington Republican Jason Barickman was the lone Republican in the Senate to vote in favor of same-sex marriage. He says a provision in the bill that won over his support includes an exemption for faith-based organizations that don't wish to perform same-sex marriages. Barickman says, "I was extremely involved in the negotiations of the language that carves out exceptions for religious beliefs, and I am very comfortable with that language and the protections that it provides to those views."
The bill now moves to the House, where Democrats also hold a majority. The Valentine's Day vote came amid concerns from Republicans that the bill would force religious organizations to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their fellowship halls, parish centers or even in their sanctuaries. Bishops in Illinois, led by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, also have said they oppose the idea as against the ``natural order.'' Gov. Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, has said he will sign the bill if the House approves it.
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