By KERRY LESTER Associated Press
The Clinton Herald
---- — SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Activists and supporters gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday, the same day lawmakers returned to Springfield, to demand immediate action on a measure to make Illinois the next state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Five months after the legislation stalled in the Illinois House, hundreds turned out for the “March on Springfield,” with many waving signs and flags in support. Also present were some of the state’s top elected officials, including U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Gov. Pat Quinn.
“This is our hour, this is our moment,” Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, said while describing the legislation as the “most important civil rights measure” facing the state.
Legislators returned to work with the potential for several hefty issues on the agenda, including ending gridlock on the state’s nearly $100 billion pension problem, mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes and incentives for companies to stay in Illinois.
But on Tuesday activists’ focus remained on the gay marriage issue. Those who oppose it — including mega churches in the Chicago area — vowed to protest the issue in Springfield on Wednesday, starting with a prayer vigil.