Marriage equality is still on a high a week after the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act took effect. As many same-sex couples head to the altar, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in reference to his own marriage, applauded the law signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn at a bunch held on Sunday by Equality Illinois.
Emanuel was very supportive of gay marriage and was one of a few politicians who supported the same-sex marriage bill who attended the “Freedom to Marry Tribute Reception.” Before a room of 220 people, Emanuel address the attendees by marking the state’s new law as a milestone. He said, “June 5th was Amy’s and my 20th year anniversary in our marriage. I said then that marriage is not a destination but a journey…This is a milestone a great milestone, but we have many many more miles to travel on this journey.”
The milestone, as referred to by Emanuel, reached its high point when Quinn signed the historic measure in November 2013. Although many couples were allowed to marry in Cook County before June 1, that date symbolized a celebration that stamped an exclamation point on the milestone as same-sex couples began their journeys on the crusade of marriage.
Emanuel also highlighted in his speech a new definition of marriage in the state of Illinois that is populating throughout the nation as more states are striking down gay marriage bans. He said, “It is finally true in Illinois, there is no longer straight marriage or gay marriage. There is only marriage in the eyes of the law.”
As of June 1, the language of the definition of marriage in Illinois changed from an act between a man and a woman to one between two people. Civil unions in the state can be converted to marriages within a year of the law going on the books. It means same-sex couples will also be allowed many of the same rights as heterosexual couples. Other notable politicians in attendance were Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, state Rep. Tom Cross and Congresswoman Robin Kelly.