Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) does not advance legislation that doesn’t have a chance of passing.  So, with cautious optimism, we applaud his efforts to bring Civil Unions to Illinois.

From CBS 2 Chicago:

A bill on civil unions for same sex couples goes before an Illinois House committee on Thursday, and published reports say a downstate Mormon Church plans to fight the legislation.

The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, or HB 2234, would give same-sex couples the same protections and benefits as married couples.

The legislation was introduced in February by state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago). It supplants an earlier civil unions bill, HB 1834, which Harris introduced two years ago. That bill passed out of committee, but died at the end of the legislative session due to the impeachment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The Mormon Church, always full of smiles, is fighting against the legislation.  However, as Harris says, their objections are “full of errors,” and used “exaggeration, distortion and lies.”

The California Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments today to overturn Proposition 8, which banned same sex marriage.  If Prop. 8 is overturned, that bodes well for Illinois.

And perhaps all the Mormons won’t be smiling as much any more — except, of course, those Mormons who are gay.

Update March 5, 2009, 12:15 p.m. –  State Rep. Greg Harris posted a status update to his Facebook page:

Greg Civil Union bill HB2234 just approved by Committee 4-3. It now goes to the full House for a vote.

Harris adds that the Mormon churches have “pulled out all the stops” to fight passage of this bill.  “Illinois, it appears, will be the next national battleground after California.”

Good work, Greg!