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Seven Fox Valley leaders sign letter in support of marriage equality bill

Sleepy Hollow Village President Stephen Pickett | Sun-Times Medifile

Sleepy Hollow Village President Stephen Pickett | Sun-Times Media file

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Updated: December 1, 2013 8:17AM

Seven Fox Valley town mayors or village presidents are among those who have signed a letter sent Tuesday urging the Illinois House of Representatives to pass proposed marriage equality legislation.

According to a press release, those signing the letter include Kevin Burns of Geneva, Bob Hausler of Plano, Steve Pickett of Sleepy Hollow, Dale Berman of North Aurora, Ray Rogina of St. Charles, Dave Anderson of Elburn and Gary Golinski of Yorkville.

The letter was put together by the group Illinois Unites for Marriage. It states, “Families cannot wait any longer for the state of Illinois to respect their freedom to marry.”

Pickett said Burns had asked him to sign the letter about a week or so ago. Pickett said he signed it as an individual and not on behalf of the Sleepy Hollow Village Board.

As for why he signed, Pickett said, “Equality for all, my man.”

“As the chief executive officers of our respective communities, our responsibility and guiding principle is to work with citizens and businesses to encourage, create, strengthen and sustain an environment where everyone is provided an opportunity to succeed,” the letter states. “Each day, we see same-sex couples and their families who suffer because they are denied the full protections of law, protections that strengthen families. These families cannot wait any longer for the state of Illinois to respect their freedom to marry.”

Senate Bill 10 — the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act — passed the Illinois Senate on Feb. 14 and awaits action in the House. The House will return to Springfield for a veto session next week.

Opponents, including a group of influential black ministers, have launched advertising and automated phone call campaigns against undecided members of the House Black Caucus.

One leading African-American lawmaker, state Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago), told the Chicago Sun-Times she thinks a vote should wait until January, after a December deadline for candidates to file nominating petitions to get on the spring primary ballot and challenge potential “yes” votes. Davis predicted the bill eventually would pass.

Due to complicated legislative procedures, the bill requires 71 House votes in veto session for it to go into effect this year. If it passes with a simple majority, it would have to be amended to go into effect before June 1, 2014, and be voted on again in the state Senate. After Jan. 1, that threshold drops back to 60 votes.

Gov. Pat Quinn supports the bill.

With Sun-Times Media reports

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