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Christin Baker (left) and State Rep. Deborah Mell shortly after their 2011 marriage in Iowa. File Photo| Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

Deb Mell says her same-sex marriage is over: 'Divorce is painful'

Ald. Deb Mell (33rd), the first openly lesbian member of Chicago's City Council, announced Thursday over Twitter that she is ending her marriage to Christin Baker.

"Dear Friends, It is with great sadness I tell you my marriage with Christin has ended. As you know divorce is painful, therefore we ask for privacy as we go through this process. Thank you for your continued support and understanding," Mell wrote on Twitter.  She could not be reached for comment, but the Chicago Sun-Times independently confirmed the news that the couple that had so publicly celebrated their love, were now splitting.

In an emotional speech on the Illinois House floor in 2010, Mell first announced her engagement to Baker and noted that then the two were unable to be wed in Illinois. 



"While this is a happy day, and one to celebrate, it is also bittersweet," Mell said at the time. "Life can be tough even on a good day, so I believe if you find that person who you want to spend the rest of your life with, regardless if you're gay or straight it should be honored and celebrated."

Mell married Baker, a onetime national director for the YMCA, in a ceremony in Iowa in 2011. Mell became the first high-profile elected official in Illinois to publicly enter into a same-sex marriage. In June, Baker took a position with Daxko Consulting, which is based in Birmingham, Alabama.

"Deb and I are very close. My heart breaks for her," said state Rep. Kelly Cassidy. "None of us is any different and this proves it." 

Cassidy added: "She's asked for privacy and we think we should give it to her."

The announcement comes after Illinois legalized same-sex marriage last year, with it officially going into effect in June. 
 

Contributing: Sydney Lawson