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Local Gay Couples React to Illinois Same-Sex Marriage Pass

ILLINOIS--Same-sex couples are one step closer to marrying in Illinois, after the Illinois Senate gave it a thumbs up earlier today.

The 34 to 21 vote, was met with cheers, after about two hours of discussion on the Senate floor.

It it was an amendment added this morning, that may have pushed this bill over the edge.

One Republican voted for the bill, three Democrats, against it.

It will now head to the House for a vote.

For same-sex couples, this means they could eventually have the legal protections and benefits of marriage.

A big step for many here in Illinois, especially for Michelle Frank and Michelle Chappell, who have been together for 22 years.

It was in 1997, when Michelle and Michelle tied the knot in Texas, after six years of dating.

While it was an exciting day for them, sadly this ceremony meant nothing legally.

However, in June 2011, they joined together officially by Civil Union in Illinois. 

Their daughter Rose, at 10 years-old, is fully aware of the hardships her family has had to go through.

However, it was Thursday's vote in the Illinois Senate, passing same-sex marriage, that gave Rose hope.

Another local gay couple, Kevin and Brandon Bowerson-Johnson, said they're also delighted and gave us this statement:

"We're excited that marriage equality has taken the next step and we look forward to marriage equality in Illinois. Although these are very exciting times and worth celebrating, we must remember that this is only one piece toward full equality."

We did get in contact with Lambda Legal, the organization suing the state on behalf on 25 gay couples in Illinois seeking same-sex marriage.

They say if, and when the Governor signs the final bill, its obvious that they will no longer have a case, and it will be dropped.

The bill exempts churches from having to host ceremonies for same-sex couples at their facilities.

It doesn't exclude schools or social service agencies.

The bill now moves to the House, where sponsors think they can get it passed.

ABC Newschannel 15's Marine Glisovic reports.