In the hours following lawmakers' approval of same-sex marriage Tuesday, state Rep. Sam Yingling proposed to his partner at a celebratory party at the governor's mansion in Springfield.
The Round Lake Beach Democrat says he'd been preparing for the moment for a while, purchasing the ring he gave to Lowell Jaffe well in advance and planning to pop the question shortly after lawmakers voted -- a vote supporters originally hoped would be last May.
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"I had been carrying a ring back and forth to Springfield for a while," Yingling said Wednesday.
Video of the event shows Yingling talking to Jaffe about his serial lateness and how their initial meeting was caused by Gov. Pat Quinn, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon and Personal PAC President Terry Cosgrove.
"All of these people have been sitting here waiting for you to arrive," Yingling said.
Jaffe replied to the proposal: "Yes, yes yes."
Yingling said he and Jaffe, the son of Illinois Gaming Board Chairman Aaron Jaffe, have been together for more than three years.
The party followed lawmakers' lengthy debate of same-sex marriage blocks away at the Illinois Capitol. Quinn, who said he plans to sign same-sex marriage into law soon, paid for the party out of his campaign fund, spokesman Dave Blanchette said.
As an openly gay lawmaker, Yingling had taken an increased lobbying role during his freshman year in the Illinois House, trying to convince fellow suburban politicians to approve the measure.
"Thank you, Gov. Quinn, for inadvertently throwing us an engagement party," Yingling said.