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Illinois Senate set for Valentine's Day vote on gay marriage

Illinois Senate set for Valentine's Day vote on gay marriage

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Gay marriage vote poses challenge for Ill. GOP

In this Jan. 3, 2013, file photo, a supporter for same-sex marriage wears a sticker on her jacket before a Senate committee hearing at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

The Illinois Senate is expected to vote Thursday — Valentine's Day — on a measure to approve same-sex marriage statewide.

If the bill passes and Senate and subsequently passed the House, Gov. Pat Quinn has said he will sign it. It would make Illinois the 10th state in America to legalize same-sex marriage.

The state already sanctions same-sex “civil unions” that provide most of the same legal rights as marriage.

Advocates of same-sex marriage say the symbolic power of the word is important.

“It is through marriage that adults throughout our country and throughout the world express their commitment and devotion to each other,” says a statement the website of Equality Illinois, a gay rights organization that is urging supporters to “make this Valentine's Day historic.”

Opponents say marriage is a religious institution and that the measure diminishes it.

“I strenuously object to this legislation and hope our elected officials will see the value marriage contributes to the common good of our society,” Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield said in a posted message. “. . . This Valentine’s Day we would . . . do well to focus on a more authentic understanding of the word 'love. Love never encourages sin.”

The Senate floor vote could come as early as 11 a.m.

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