SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) showed her support for marriage equality today by helping pass the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act out of the Illinois Senate.

The bill provides equal opportunity for the same federal marriage benefits to same-sex couples that are currently awarded to other couples.

“I believe in equal protection under the law for all people in the 49th District and in Illinois, and this vote brings us closer to that,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

While civil unions provide all of the same state rights as marriage to same-sex couples, they do not offer the more than 1,100 federal benefits afforded to married couples. The federal act barring legally married same-sex couples from receiving these benefits likely will be overturned in coming months.  In the event that it is, same-sex married couples can then receive the same federal legal rights as their counterparts.

“I appreciate the sensitivity of this topic; however, our laws were not designed to judge people based on whom they love.  Today was a vote about fairness.”

The Senate voted 34-21 to pass the bill.  It will now be taken up in the House of Representatives.

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