Lambda Legal Celebrates Senator Heather Steans, Stalwart of LGBTQ Civil Rights in Illinois

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January 29, 2021
Senator Heather Steans. Photo:

After twelve years, State Senator Heather Steans of Chicago is stepping down from her seat in the Illinois General Assembly. During her time in office, Senator Steans proved herself to be a staunch ally and partner of Illinois’ LGBTQ community, sponsoring a number of key bills, including the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which made it possible for LGBTQ people in Illinois to legally marry.

In honor of Senator Steans’ service, Lambda Legal Director of Constitutional Litigation, Camilla Taylor, released the following statement:

“Senator Heather Steans defines public service. She has spent the last twelve years making Illinois a safer and more welcoming place for all people – including the LGBTQ community. In 2007, she introduced the Equal Marriage Bill, the very first marriage equality proposal filed in the Illinois Senate – keeping with our state’s tradition of leading the way on LGBTQ civil rights. Even though that bill did not pass, Senator Steans persisted. And in 2013, her bill was finally passed and signed into law – guaranteeing marriage equality for Illinois’ LGBTQ families, two years before we won the same right nationwide before the Supreme Court.

“Senator Steans’ leadership did not stop at marriage. She authored and sponsored countless bills that extend equal protection to the LGBTQ community, people living with HIV and others – enshrining abortion rights and expanding Medicaid access for people across our state.

“Illinois’ LGBTQ community is stronger, and our state is a more equal place thanks to Senator Heather Steans.”