SAUGANASH PARK — Sauganash Park resident Chai Wolfman said her emotions boiled over as she watched State Rep. John D'Amico vote in favor of a measure to make the state the 15th in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.
"I started sobbing as he cast his vote," Wolfman, who lives in D'Amico's district with partner Mandi Hinkley and their twin 3-year-old girls, said Wednesday. "I'm glad that my family will no longer be discriminated against."
Many involved in the same-sex marriage debate had their eyes on D'Amico, who had been undecided on the measure in recent months.
But in an interview Wednesday, D'Amico said he ultimately opted to vote to allow same-sex marriage in Illinois to reflect the views of a majority of the residents of his district, which includes parts of Mayfair, North Park, Forest Glen, Sauganash, Edison Park and several northwest suburbs.
"I don't believe in discrimination," D'Amico (D-Chicago) told DNAinfo Chicago.
Saying he met every day with both supporters and opponents of the measure, D'Amico said he was swayed in part by a poll released by Illinois Unites for Marriage Equality that showed two-thirds of Democratic voters in his district supported same-sex marriage.
Supporters of gay marriage "did a good job getting their point across," said D'Amico, who met with Wolfman.
D'Amico's aunt, Ald. Margaret Laurino (39th), was in Springfield in her role overseeing the Chicago City Council Legislative Reference Bureau, and made a point of witnessing the historic vote in the House Chamber.
"It was a very respectful vote and debate," Laurino said. "It was emotional for both sides, and ultimately very exciting."
Laurino said she heard from a number of people on both sides of the issue urging her to lobby her nephew.
"He made up his own mind," Laurino said. "He sure was at the center of the storm for a while there."
D'Amico voted no in 2010 on a bill that gave gay and lesbian couples the option of civil unions with many of the same rights as married heterosexual couples.
Wolfman, though, said after watching the debate online Tuesday she was "filled with gratitude" after D'Amico and other legislators voted for the measure, which was then passed by the state Senate and which Gov. Pat Quinn says he plans to sign into law.
Wolfman said she and Hinkley, who had a big wedding in 2007 even though gay marriage wasn't legal at the time, would take advantage of the new law.
"We'll have to figure out whether to have another ceremony," Wolfman said. "It is nice to have different options."