The Illinois Senate voted 32-24 today to approve Senate Bill 1716, which will allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions, according to the Chicago Tribune. While civil unions still do not afford gay couples full marriage equality, the historic vote is a step in the right direction and will afford same-sex couples many of the same state-level marriage rights as heterosexuals.

The Senate’s action came quickly on the heels of approval in the Illinois House yesterday by a vote of 61-52.  

In debating the merits of passing the bill yesterday, openly gay Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, who sponsored the bill, said, “We have a chance here, as leaders have had in previous generations, to correct injustice and to move us down the path toward liberty. It’s a matter of fairness, it’s a matter of respect, it’s a matter of equality.”

The Bill now moves to the desk of Gov. Pat Quinn, who is expected to sign it after campaigning on a pledge to support equal marital rights for same-sex couples.