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Illinois set to OK gay marriage; biggest state yet in the heartland

Illinois set to OK gay marriage; biggest state yet in the heartland
Illinois Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), left, is congratulated by lawmakers as gay marriage legislation passes on the House floor Tuesday. Gov. Pat Quinn is center. (Seth Perlman / Associated Press)

The Illinois Legislature sent a bill to the governor Tuesday that would make the state the largest in the heartland to legalize gay marriage. And Gov. Pat Quinn has pledged to sign it.

The House passed the bill Tuesday, 61 to 54, according to the Associated Press. The bill first passed the Senate in February and passed in the upper chamber again Tuesday after it was amended.

Under the measure, gay couples could begin getting married in Illinois in June.

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In the Midwest, Minnesota and Iowa already allow gay marriage.  The 12 other states in the U.S. that have OKd same-sex unions are California, Connecticut, Delaware,  Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

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Washington, D.C., also allows it.

Hawaii is debating a measure that would legalize gay marriage. Depending on the timeline, either Hawaii or Illinois could become the nation's 15th state to legalize such unions.

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Twitter: @lauraelizdavis

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