Peoria couple will soon have Illinois recognition of same-sex marital status

By WEEK Reporter

November 6, 2013 Updated Nov 6, 2013 at 11:35 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Illinois is one step closer to becoming the 15th state to allow same sex marriages. After months of debate the legislation passed in a historic *house vote yesterday. Quinn says he will sign the bill by the end of the month. Now Peoria couple Hector Martinez and Bob Proctor will finally have their marriage recognized by the state of Illinois.

Hector Martinez and his partner Bob Proctor have been together for twenty years. Six of those years, were spent fighting to legalize same sex marriage in Illinois, a fight they thought--until just recently--was hopeless.

"It's really difficult right now to fathom that this just happened," said Martinez. "I never thought that it would happen in my life time."

As Peoria residents, they hoped to tie the knot in Illinois, but without legal marital status they went to Iowa.

"I had been going without health insurance more than a year, and I really needed it," said Martinez. "So we decided to go ahead and get married in Iowa and then we'll still get married again in Illinois."

In a few months, they finally will. Martinez says the word "married" makes it all worth the months of planning.

"To be able to tell people that we're 'married' is huge. Everybody knows what that means. They know we're in a relationship that's recognized by law and that makes a big difference," said Martinez.

Once law, same-sex couples can get married as soon as June 1, 2014. Martinez and Proctor have already started the planning, but Martinez says it's a shift in overall social culture.