SPRINGFIELD-- Love is in the air inside the Illinois Senate Chambers as the Senate voted this afternoon to approve the same sex marriage bill.
Before approving the measure, the Senate attached an amendment Thursday that explicitly states no church or other religious organization will be forced to solemnize same-sex marriages. It also says churches cannot be sued if they don't allow their parishes to be used for same-sex marriage ceremonies.
Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Champaign, was the only Republican to vote yes. He said he worked with Steans on the amendment before pledging his support.
"I think it was the right thing to do," Barickman said. "It's a vote that I understand some have varying onpinions on, but I feel that I voted in the correct way."
Senators voted 34-21 to approve the measure, sending it on to the state House where Democrats also hold a majority.
Thursday's vote came two years after Illinois lawmakers approved civil unions, which provide legal recognition of a partnership between two people, regardless of gender. But gay marriage supporters said it wasn't enough.
Governor Pat Quinn has said that if the bill passes through the Illinois House he will sign it into law.