Springfield, IL- Representative Deborah Mell announced her engagement in a very public way Wednesday, by proclaiming it on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives.
The Chicago Democrat has been in a serious relationship for six years and she says it was time to take that relationship to the next level. Two weeks ago Representative Mell asked her partner, Christin Baker, for her hand in marriage on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center in Chicago.
Since Mell and her partner are gay, she says they have to exchange their wedding vows in another state.
"Now I am aware that our governor and many of you on both sides of the isle do not consider me equal to you and our relationship equal to the relationship you share with your spouse," says Mell. "I think we are more alike than we are different. Christin and I are going to get married in the fall of 2011 and I'm afraid that we still don't have equal marriage in Illinois so we will have to go next door to Iowa to get married."
Mell's announcement was met with applause and warm wishes from several of her fellow lawmakers.
Gay marriage is legal in Iowa, Washington DC and four other states, but not in Illinois.