Illinois Close On Civil Unions
The Washington Blade is reporting that the Illinois General Assembly is set to approve civil unions next week.
Rick Garcia, political director for Equality Illinois, said Thursday he's "absolutely" expecting the full state House and the Senate to pass a civil union measure either Tuesday or Wednesday. The bill has support from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D). The House Youth and Family Committee, chaired by Rep. Greg Harris, who's gay, intends to attach an amendment legalizing civil unions to a "shell bill" that's already been approved by the Senate, Garcia said. If the full House votes in favor of the legislation, the bill would be sent to the full Senate within hours for a vote of concurrence.Wow. Kinda outta nowhere, huh? Shell bills. Talk about a fast lane!
Garcia said Illinois lawmakers often use "shell bills" to pass legislation expediently. He said it's necessary to legalize civil unions through this method because the legislative session ends May 30 and the approach limits the time that opponents of civil unions can lobby lawmakers. "We get it out of the House and then senators only have a few hours of being beat up by our opponents rather than three days or a long weekend," he said. "Since there is a perfectly legitimate way of doing it in one day, that's what we're going to do."