Large crowds of activists, including a contingent from Warren County, marched at the state capital in Springfield in October in support of marriage equality. Included in the Warren County group were 20 Monmouth college students who made the trip to the capitol on a cold and rainy day. According to organizers, the march at the capitol on October 22nd will go down in Illinois history as the largest event, in terms of attendees, to ever gather in support of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT community in Illinois. An estimated 5,000 supporters of Senate Bill 10 took part in the March.
Anne Begley, one of the Monmouth students who went to the event was overjoyed at the sight of all of the supporters. Later she commented, “It is wonderful to see all of this support and passion for this cause. I couldn't imagine not being able to marry a person that I love and I wouldn't want anyone to be deprived of that right.” She also said, “So many people are in support of same-sex marriage but it is amazing to see a group of students who are actually doing something about it.” In talking to Begley after the bill was passed, it was obvious how happy she was that she had been a part of the momentous day. She simply said, “One of the speakers started a chant as we began marching, 'Pass the damn bill!' and that is just what happened.” That speaker was Bishop Carlton Pearson and he was the keynote speaker for the March on Springfield.
After all of the organizing for the event and with the huge number of people that were in attendance, not to mention the years of work prior to bring equality to the LGBT community, there was still doubt that the bill would pass or that it would even come to a vote during this three week session of legislation. Governor Pat Quinn expressed a feeling of urgency when he spoke at the march stating, “This is our hour. This is our moment.”
The bill was easily passed in the senate more than five months before but, even though it was called to a vote during legislation in May in the Illinois General Assembly, it was never called to the floor. The vote was called up last minute on Tuesday and won with a vote of 61 to 54. It has long been known that Quinn supported this bill and would sign it when it passed. It is now confirmed that he will be signing the bill later this month at the University of Illinois. In a statement, Quinn said, "Marriage equality is coming to Illinois. I look forward to signing this landmark legislation on November 20 and celebrating a big step forward with the people of Illinois."