President Barack Obama on Saturday
endorsed an effort to make his home state of Illinois the tenth state
to legalize gay marriage.
“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
“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.”
The announcement comes on the same day
that Maine began issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples
following a voter referendum.
gay couples marry in Maine.)
Illinois lawmakers, who legalized civil
unions for gay couples 2 years ago, are expected to take up the issue
when they reconvene for a lame-duck session in January.
State Senator Heather Steans says lawmakers are “close” on gay
Obama came out in favor of marriage
equality in May.