The Illinois House of Representatives [official website] voted [roll call] on Tuesday to legalize same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder]. The bill [SB 10, PDF], known as the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act Illinois, passed the state senate in February [JURIST report]. Although the bill allows same-sex couples to marry, it allows religious organizations to refuse to celebrate or solemnize marriages if they so choose. Governor Pat Quinn [official website] is expected to sign the bill into law later this month.
Once Quinn signs the bill into law, Illinois will become the fifteenth US state to legalize same-sex marriage. Last week a federal judge in Ohio ruled [JURIST report] that a lawsuit seeking the recognition of same-sex marriages on Ohio death certificates could continue. Also last week a Colorado same-sex couple filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] seeking a marriage license. Earlier that week a Missouri court denied [JURIST report] a same-sex partner survivor benefits. In October JURIST Guest Columnist Theodore Seto argued the fallout from the US v. Windsor [SCOTUSblog backgrounder; JURIST report] decision is only beginning to show the role state governments will have [JURIST op-ed] in state constitutional modification, in addition to the possibility that a same-sex marriage case will reach the US Supreme Court in the future. In September a Kentucky judge issued a ruling in the opposite direction, holding that partners in a same-sex couple must testify against one another [JURIST report] because same-sex partners are not protected by the husband-wife privilege under state law.