Gay marriage support hits new high while Illinois stands still - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Gay marriage support hits new high while Illinois stands still

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A new opinion survey shows a dramatic increase in the number of people supporting gay marriage. The poll's release coincides with Hillary Clinton's endorsement of the campaign for marriage equality.

It's not clear, though, if these changes will influence a decision in Illinois. A proposal to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois sailed through the State Senate more than a month ago, but it's been stalled in the House, much to the surprise of some activists.

Retired campus security officer Gwendolyn Jackson and her partner of 23 years, Yvette Lee-Jackson, were pleased by a new Washington Post poll showing 58 percent of Americans supporting same-sex marriage. If it's legalized in Illinois, they plan to marry. But they worry that opposition here remains strong.

"Yes, I am [surprised]," Gwendolyn Jackson says. "I thought it was going to pass back in February. But that's okay. That's just more work that needs to be done."

Opponents of same-sex marriage have targeted 26 state representatives, flooding their districts with more than 400,000 robocalls. In predominantly African-American districts, some feature the voice of former State Senator Reverend James Meeks. Others employ the voice of family PAC president Paul Caprio and use language gay rights activists call offensive.

"Now, Smiddy is threatening to vote in favor of the same-sex marriage bill," Caprio says in a robotic telephone call directed at constituents of Rep. Mike Smiddy. "Who is Smiddy representing? The Chicago homosexuals, or your family?"

"They do not have the votes and we don't believe they will have the votes to have this bill called," Caprio says.

Some supporters of same-sex marriage insist they are following God's will.

"We have to face God for ourselves,"Yvette Lee-Jackson says. "So, I'm not sinning because I love who I love. And we have a right just like everyone else does to have our relationship known."

Supporters in Springfield continue to express confidence that they will line up the 60 votes they need to pass it in the House. Among others, Mayor Emanuel is working the phones, lobbying for them.

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