Harris to Introduce Marriage Bill
by Andrew Davis
Copyright by The Windy City Times
State Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, will introduce a same-sex marriage bill Feb. 22 in the Illinois House of Representatives.
“It is the right thing to do,” Harris told Windy City Times. He does not expect the journey to the measure’s possible passage to be “quick and easy.”
Now that the legislative reference bureau has ensured that the draft of the bill is up to standards, the measure will be submitted to Mark Mahoney, the clerk of the House. Then, Harris said, the bill will be assigned to a committee. Subsequently, he will work with advocates from organizations such as Equal Marriage Illinois, Equality Illinois and the American Civil Liberties Union to assess the situation and to determine the best strategy for the measure. Regarding the forward movement of the soon-to-be proposed bill, Harris said that “we are open to all options.”
Harris was quick to stress that actions speak louder than words. “Believing in it isn’t enough,” he said, emphasizing that constituents need to continuously contact their legislators if they want to make the concept of same-sex marriage a reality.
However, marriage has not been the only issue Harris has been involved in. Surrounded by supporters and breast cancer survivors, he recently announced the introduction of a measure that would increase the availability of breast examinations for women in Illinois.
House Bill 147 requires state regulated insurance companies to cover comprehensive clinical breast exams ( CBE ) for all Illinois women 18 and older. Properly trained physicians and nurses would perform the exams.
Quality CBEs are critical in fighting breast cancer. Evidence compiled by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that the early detection that can only be performed by CBEs is among the best ways of discovering curable cancers. According to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, efforts like HB 147 will help raise awareness about the importance of early detection—particularly in younger women—and help reduce the number of deaths from the disease.
The measure currently awaits action in the House’s Health Care Availability and Access Committee. Among the co-sponsors are State Reps. Annazette Collins, D-Chicago, and Harry Osterman, D-Chicago