Emotional video makes case for marriage equality in Illinois - FOX 32 News Chicago

Emotional video makes case for marriage equality in Illinois

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The pressure is on lawmakers to pass a same sex marriage act in Illinois. Advocates released an emotional video Thursday, which they hope will help the cause and make the case for marriage equality.

"Illinois Can't Wait" tells the story of Chicago couple Robert Smith and his partner Steven Rynes. They hoped to get married in the state where they fell in love and made their life. But tragically, Rynes passed away last week.

He was diagnosed with terminal stage 3 Melanoma in November of 2012. He was not well enough to travel outside Illinois with Smith to marry legally.

The couple entered a civil union in January of 2013, after Rynes found out he was sick. But Smith said civil unions are not a marriage, and that a different title does not mean the same things. They really wanted to be married, to have the same experience as heterosexual couples in our state.

"We never got our chance," Smith said. "He wanted one thing in his whole life and that was to get married. And he didn't get it and he'll never get it now."

Marriage equality advocates were stunned that the law did not pass in time. The coalition, which is mobilizing across the state, hopes the release of this video will make an impact on Illinois lawmakers as head into the fall veto session.

The Center on Halsted's public relations director Tom Elliot said that this video proves that love is love, no matter who you are or who you are in love with.

"It's a very touching video that puts this in perspective - the reality that two people's love is the same regardless of whether they are two men or two women or a man and a woman," Elliot said. "It really brings home the importance of a family that needs to be together in times of hardship like this."

Elliot told FOX 32 News that LGBT people are not willing to settle for second class anymore.

"We need to be treated as equal citizens," Elliot said. "So we're not put in that same situation."

Elliot believes there is a real chance the bill will pass in the fall session, and said the coalition will continue to fight until marriage equality is achieved in Illinois.

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