SPRINGFIELD — A Republican who represents a swath of southeastern Illinois is sponsoring legislation aimed at highlighting the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Even though Illinois approved a law banning same-sex marriage in 1986, Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill, said his resolution will help counteract recent lawsuits that are challenging the prohibition.

“It is time for the General Assembly to reaffirm their support for Illinois laws reserving the institution of marriage between one man and one woman,” Reis said in a statement.

The legislation also urges the General Assembly to adopt a constitutional amendment stating “only a marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in Illinois.”

“This extremely controversial issue should not be decided in the courts. It should be decided by the people,” Reis said. “The only real way to solve this is by a vote on a constitutional amendment.”

The proposal, which was filed last week, comes in response to Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s decision not to defend challenges to the state’s marriage definition. Two downstate county clerks — Democrat Christie Webb of Tazewell County and Republican Kerry Hirtzel of Effingham County — have been granted the right to intervene against the two lawsuits and defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, who was the sponsor of the law legalizing civil unions last year, said he is doubtful Reis’ proposal will be brought up for a vote.

“I think the viewpoint of most Illinoisans has changed on this issue,” Harris said.

The legislation is House Joint Resolution 95.