SPRINGFIELD --- Speaker Michael Madigan today said a gay marriage bill is "12 votes short of passage" in the Illinois House, a signal that same-sex marriage could face a tough road to approval this spring.
Asked where the gay marriage stood in the House, Madigan said: “Yes, it’s 12 votes short of passage.”
It takes 60 votes to pass a bill in the House, so the speaker's comment means there could be 48 lawmakers already in favor.
The veteran Democratic speaker also said he has been contacted by Cardinal Francis George, who opposes the gay marriage bill because he says marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman. Madigan, a Catholic from the Southwest Side, indicated today that he supports the same-sex marriage bill.
The Illinois gay marriage bill passed the state Senate last month, and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn already has indicated he would sign it into law if it reaches his desk. That leaves the House as the last hurdle.
On Tuesday, sponsoring Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, indicated he would not call the measure for a vote this week. Lawmakers are in next week, but then gone for two weeks.
Today, Harris said he thinks "it's a bit closer" than 12 votes.
"I have not spoken to the speaker so I don't know what assumptions he's using. Obviously, you would need to talk to him about that. But when we put it up on the board, we're going to have 60 votes and it's going to pass because this is what the majority of people in the state of Illinois believe it's the right thing to do," Harris said.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun