Governor of Illinois will sign civil unions bill today in front of huge crowd

It’s a day of celebration in Illinois. The Governor, Patrick Quinn, will sign his state’s new civil unions bill into law today. Quinn, who replaced Rod Blagojevich, campaigned for election last November, in part, on his support for civil unions. He didn’t waver. And, he won. Today, Quinn is turning the bill-signing into a major event, according to the Sun-Times:

Gov. Quinn will enact legislation that will allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions during a bill-signing ceremony Monday that could go down as one of the largest in state history.

The governor’s office has been publicizing the bill-signing for a week and expects as many as 1,000 people to show up at the ceremony, which will be held at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.

“We knew there was going to be a lot of interest in participating in what is a pretty historic moment. There’s only a limited number of states that allow civil unions, and a smaller amount that allow gay marriage,” Quinn spokeswoman Brie Callahan said.

“What we wanted to do was just make it as public as we could, and the response has been overwhelming,” she said.

And, the bill’s sponsor is also impressed by the response to today’s event:

“The turnout is going to be beyond anyone’s expectations,” said Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), the bill’s chief House sponsor. “What people are saying to me is this is going to be a historic moment. I had a couple of women tell me they had waited 28 years for this and wanted to be there when it finally happens.

A lot of people have been waiting a long time for these rights. And, today is a step forward. Still not completely equal and still not recognized by the federal government, but it is a big step in the right direction.

We hear from a lot of people in DC who claim to support civil unions, starting with the President. But, there’s no civil unions legislation under consideration in Congress. Never has been.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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