Illinois legislator marries her same-sex partner in Iowa

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 1:42 pm | More from The Iowa Independent

Deborah Mell, a Chicago Democrat that serves in the Illinois House of Representatives, married her seven-year partner, Christin Baker, during a civil ceremony in Davenport last week.

As a legislator, Mell had fought for full civil marriage rights for gays and lesbians in her home state, but the body ultimately only granted civil union benefits.

According to reporter Carol Marin of the Chicago Sun-Times, Mell has become the first high-profile elected official in Illinois to publicly enter into a same-sex marriage. She is the the sister-in-law of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

… “Our relationship deserves marriage,” said a beaming Mell, her newly wedding-banded hand resting on Baker’s shoulder Tuesday. “That’s how I feel about it. I mean there was a time in our relationship where it just wasn’t right to call Christin my ‘partner’ or my ‘friend’ . . . or even my ‘civil-unionized partner.’ You know she’s my wife. . . . We deserve those titles, those rights.” …

The couple plans to hold a blessing ceremony as part of an Episcopal mass next week. Under Illinois law, the couple’s commitment can only be legally viewed as a civil union, which does not carry the same protections and benefits of full civil marriage.

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