Chicago democratic representative Deborah Mell announced her engagement on the floor of the house yesterday. Personal announcements aren’t uncommon, but Mell’s caused a stir; she is one of two openly-gay legislators in the state of Illinois. She said:
“I know our governor and many of you on both sides of the aisle do not consider me equal to you and our relationship equal to the relationship you share with your spouse,” Mell said. “I think we are more alike than we are different.”
Mell and her partner of six years, Christin Baker, plan to wed in Iowa, one of five states where same-sex marriage is legal. Civil unions are also not legal in Illinois. A 1996 law defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
Republican Harry Ramey, who was not on the floor at the time of Mell’s announcement, said he still opposed same-sex marriage and civil unions. “It’s the way I was raised,” he told the Chicago Sun Times.