Mark Brown wrote a heartbreaking piece for The Chicago Sun-Times profiling an Illinois couple, Robb Smith and Steven Rynes, who had hoped to get married before Rynes passed away from cancer on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 10 would make it possible for same-sex couples like Robb and Steven to marry in Illinois and receive the numerous federal benefits that come with civil marriage. The bill was not called for a vote on the House floor this spring. It may be called this fall during "veto" session. The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) ensured that same-sex couples in states with the freedom to marry will receive all the federal benefits attached to marriage. However, same-sex couples in Illinois with civil unions generally do not qualify.
Robb Smith and Steven Rynes would have liked to be married, but the State of Illinois never afforded them the opportunity.
Now, it’s too late.
While Illinois legislators continue to delay a vote on legalizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples so as not to draw opposition in the March primary, real life sets it own deadlines.
Rynes died early Tuesday morning from the effects of metatastic melanoma, a particularly lethal form of cancer.
“It’s fine while [legislators] waffle over it, but I think they forget that we’re really out here,” Smith told me later Tuesday. “It’s not just me and Steve. How many thousands of people have missed this chance?”