The Illinois Senate approved same-sex marriage legislation (SB 10) during a vote that was intentionally scheduled for Valentine's Day.
Supporters of same-sex marriage said Illinois law should treat citizens who want to get married equally — regardless of their sexual orientation.
But opponents of the measure said it will outlaw what they call "sincerely held religious beliefs."
"Bed and breakfasts, florists, all those that are wedding related will be affected. They will choose to — most of them — dissolve their businesses. That's what's happened in other states," said Senator Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon).
That argument drew groans from Democrats, who overwhelmingly supported the proposal.
Many Democrats see the issue as the latest in a long line of civil rights battles.
"You know, there was a time when — for counting purposes — I would only be considered 3/5 of a man. But we've knocked down that wall," said Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago).
The measure passed 34-21, but still has to get through the Illinois House. The sponsor of the legislation in that chamber said he's optimistic, but has no idea when it might come up for a vote.
State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) voted against the measure.