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Illinois legislature votes in favour of gay marriage after long battle

Bill now heads to Governor Pat Quinn for signature

Illinois is poised to become the 15th state to legalize gay marriage. Credit:

Illinois's Senate wasted no time Nov 5 acting on the passage of a gay-marriage bill by the House of Representatives, giving the measure the green light by a 32 to 21 vote and paving the way for the state to become the 15th to legalize same-sex marriage once Governor Pat Quinn signs off on it. 

Quinn, who has previously indicated he would willingly sign Bill 10, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, welcomed the measure's passage in the General Assembly, BuzzFeed reports. He praised the "dedicated advocates who have worked day and night to get this bill to my desk, and members of the General Assembly who took a stand for equal rights. Illinois is a place that embraces all people, and today we are an example for the nation.”

According to the report, observers in the gallery began cheering as the vote tally registered. The Senate then quickly gave its approval. 

With the governor's signature affixed, same-sex couples will be able to apply for marriage licences from June 2014. 

During the debate, the bill's main sponsor, Democrat Greg Harris, who is gay, said the measure is among a series of "proud moments and difficult decisions that have brought honour upon the people and the state of Illinois," the Chicago Tribune reports.