Anne Dickey and Laura Hartman have been waiting for the Illinois General Assembly to legalize same-sex marriage.

Dickey, 39, a stay-at-home parent to the couple’s child, Theodore Hartman, 3, and Hartman, 35, a professor of religion and ethics at Rock Island’s Augustana College, can now legally take that walk down the aisle after Illinois lawmakers passed a same-sex marriage bill that Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to quickly sign into law.

The law takes effect June 1.

The couple met in 2005 at the University of Virginia where Hartman was getting her doctorate and Dickey was working for the University of Virginia Health System.

They took part in a civil union on June 2, 2011, with many other couples, but that wasn’t a wedding, Dickey said.

They could have gotten married in Iowa, she added, but that wasn’t the path they wanted to follow.

“When we came to Illinois, we wanted to invest in the community where we lived and be as legitimate as the state would let us be,” Dickey said. “We agreed we would not get married until we could do it legally in the place where we were living.

“If we were asking the state of Illinois to treat us with respect, then we had to treat the legislative process with respect. I’m civilly united to an ethicist, so she likes a good principle to stand on.”

With their civil union and with the state of Illinois recognizing both of them as Theo’s legal parents, Dickey said the couple is farther along than they would be if they were living in her native Virginia or in Hartman’s native Kentucky.

Now, they can plan a real wedding, she said.

“Laura loves a good party and she’s a huge romantic,” Dickey said. “It was worth waiting for.”