Illinois, Rhode Island could make moves on gay marriage this week

Both states could take steps to legalize gay marriage as early as Thursday

Topics: Illinois, rhode island, Gay Marriage, Marriage equality, Gay Rights,

On Thursday, both Illinois and Rhode Island are expected to make moves on bills to legalize same-sex marriages in each state.

In Rhode Island, the Providence Journal reports, state Rep. Arthur Handy says he will introduce a bill in the General Assembly on Thursday, the first day of the 2013 session.

From the Journal:

Handy has said that the legislation will include, as it has in past versions, language granting religious groups protections, if they object to same sex unions as a matter of their religious beliefs.

Citing the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, a 2011 version of Handy’s gay marriage bill stated that every religious institution has “exclusive control over its own religious doctrine, policy, and teachings regarding who may marry within their faith, and on what terms.”

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In Illinois, gay marriage advocates are reportedly gearing up to introduce legislation into the state Senate, possibly as early as tomorrow. From the Chicago Tribune:

Democratic state Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago said Monday that her goal is to introduce the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act to legalize same-sex marriage this week. The Senate will be in session Wednesday through Friday, then the House will be in session Sunday through Tuesday.

“Things are always fluid,” Steans said. “My goal is to call it this week for the Senate so it could then be heard in the House next week.”

A new set of lawmakers will be sworn in Jan. 9.

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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