Illinois Marriage Equality Could Start Much Sooner Than We Thought (VIDEO)

The rate of progress toward full federal marriage equality has been nothing short of breathtaking, but for some organizers it's still not fast enough.

Case in point: Illinois. That state went from having no relationship recognition to civil unions to full marriage equality in a matter of just a few years, an absolutely phenomenal rate of change. But now one legislator is looking into ways to hasten things even more.

Currently, marriage equality is scheduled to start in Illinois in June 2014. But State Sen. Don Harmon has filed an amendment to a bill that could push up the date to as early as February. The legislature won't have an opportunity to vote on his proposal until Feb. 4, so we'll need to check back in then.

Meanwhile, Hawaii is racing alongside Illinois toward a governor's signature on a marriage bill. Same-sex couples in that state could begin having weddings as early as December.

And as usual, we have more good news from surveys and lawsuits in a variety of states. The surprising thing about last week's advances is that many of them happened in more conservative areas, so if you want to feel good about Arkansas, South Carolina, Kentucky and Montana, you're in luck.