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Gay marriage remains a tough sell in Illinois

BY SARA BURNETT, ASSOCIATED PRESS

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The stalling of Illinois' gay-marriage push - at least for now - shows the difficulty of approving legislation to legalize it, even with a nudge from the home-state president, steadily rising support in the polls and national momentum from the November elections.

Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly and the governor's office in the solidly blue state. Yet the margin of support Senate Democrats were able to pull together for a bill last week was so thin that a death in one lawmaker's family and another senator's extended trip to Israel were enough to push the issue into the next legislative session.

Supporters downplayed the delay, saying a Senate committee's vote to advance the measure was history itself and insisting same-sex marriage here is inevitable. But there's no denying that even as the nation's feelings about the issue appear to be shifting, lawmakers have been more reluctant to do so - particularly in the nation's heartland.

No legislature in the middle of the country has approved gay marriage. Of the nine states that allow it, Iowa is the only one not located on the nation's coasts, and it adopted same-sex unions through the courts, not the Legislature.

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