Without five Republican votes, House Speaker Mike Madigan would not have been able to pass the civil union bill in the Illinois House tonight. Speaker Madigan was unable to whip 13 Democrats into line and House Minority Leader Tom Cross allowed five Republicans to give Madigan the two votes he needed to pass SB 1716.
Downstate and competitive Democratic House districts were given a pass on State Rep. Greg Harris' controversial SB 1716, legalizing same sex civil unions in Illinois. The bill now goes to the Illinois Senate, where it is expected to pass easily.
The five Republican state reps that supported civil unions were Suzie Bassi, Bill Black, Beth Coulson, Rosemary Mulligan and Skip Saviano. Sid Mathias was excused for the day. Mulligan, who was absent earlier in the day, joined the House members after 5:30 and Harris called the bill. Bassi and Coulson will not be returning next session and Bill Black is retiring in December.
Twelve Democrats voted against civil unions, although Madigan worked the floor during the debate. Those allowed to opposed civil unions because the five Republicans filled in were state reps Beiser, Bradley, Chapa LaVia, D'Amico, Holbrook, Jefferson, Lyons, Mautino, O'Sullivan, Phelps, Reitz and Verschoore. Kevin McCarthy voted Present.
See Illinois Review's live blogging of the debate HERE.