SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Two Illinois lawmakers say they're "within striking distance" of getting legislative approval for gay marriage and hope to send a bill to Gov. Pat Quinn shortly after the new year.

Rep. Greg Harris and Sen. Heather Steans (STAYNZ') say they'll call for a vote on a gay marriage bill when the Legislature reconvenes in January.

The Chicago Democrats say public opinion favoring equal rights for same-sex partners is moving rapidly. Four states voted in favor of the issue or opposed a ban on it in November.

In June 2011, Harris led the successful push to allow civil unions in Illinois. He and Steans say a gay marriage law wouldn't interfere with religious beliefs or force places of worship to recognize same-sex marriages.

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The bill is HB5170.

Online: http://www.ilga.gov