Gay marriage bill headed to Springfield?

By WEEK Producer

Gay marriage bill headed to Springfield?

December 14, 2012 Updated Dec 14, 2012 at 11:25 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- Two Illinois lawmakers think they are close to a vote allowing gay marriage.

Chicago Democrats, Representative Greg Harris and Senator Heather Steans, hope to send a bill to Governor Pat Quinn shortly after the new year.

The lawmakers say they'll call for a vote on a gay marriage bill when the legislature reconvenes in January. Eighteen months ago, lawmakers passed a law allowing civil unions for same sex partners.

Peoria Senator Dave Koehler is a co-sponsor of the bill. He says Illinois is catching up with other states on the issue.

"Illinois' not the leader in this; we're actually following the lead of some of the other states, most on the east coast and the west coast, so I think that the feeling is that attitudes have changed enough; this is now gaining bipartisan support, that now is the time to enact this law," Koehler said.

Nine states currently allow gay marriage. If Illinois lawmakers pass the measure and Governor Quinn Signs it, it could take affect July 1.