SPRINGFIELD – An Urbana lawmaker says her late son would be proud that she returned to the Capitol to vote for same-sex marriage in his last hours.
Garret Jakobsson, the 46-year-old son of Democratic state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, died Tuesday evening. He had a progressive neurodegenerative disorder called Pick's disease and had been in hospice care in the central Illinois town of Mattoon.
Jakobsson rushed back to Springfield Tuesday afternoon to vote for the same-sex marriage bill, which she had co-sponsored. It ultimately passed the House with one vote to spare.
Jakobsson released a statement Wednesday evening noting that "equal protection under the law" was important to her entire family.
The vote, she said, was "one that I felt I could not miss and I know my son was proud of my decision."
Garret Jakobsson was one of Naomi and Eric Jakobsson's eight children, six of whom were adopted. Garret was adopted from South Korea in 1968, her office said.
Democratic House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie told The Associated Press that Garret's death "had been a long time coming."
Currie noted that Jakobsson did her best to get through a difficult day. It was clear, she said, that she was distraught as she arrived at the Capitol to vote.
"She believes in family, family values," Currie said.
"What a sacrifice her family made," added Democratic State Rep. Greg Harris, sponsor of the same-sex marriage legislation.
Jakobsson has served six terms in the Illinois House. She announced this fall that she won't be seeking re-election. Former campaign manager Michael Richards and Urbana Council Member Carol Ammons are bidding for her seat in the March primary.