President Barack Obama on Saturday urged the Illinois General Assembly to vote in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in his home state.
“While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye told the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday.
“As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so. Were the President still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally.” Inouye said.
Illinois lawmakers are widely expected to consider a marriage equality bill during the lame duck session, beginning Jan. 2.
Chief sponsors of the bill, Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) said they are close to securing enough support to bring the bill up for vote.
“While we knew of his support for the freedom to marry, the fact that the President wants his home state to achieve it through legislative action is a strong and significant statement to our General Assembly that the time is now to act,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy organization.
On Sunday, Dec. 23, more than 200 faith leaders and clergy members from across the state, said they fully support the bill, which would grant full marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples as well as give religious institutions the ability to opt out of recognizing and ordaining those marriages.