The leader of the 20-member Illinois Legislative Black Caucus has endorsed a bill which seeks to legalize gay marriage in Illinois.

On Tuesday, Rep. Ken Dunkin signed on as a co-sponsor of the measure.

“For me, this is about equality and equal treatment under the law,” Dunkin said in a statement announcing his endorsement. “I have always believed that discrimination is wrong, no matter whom it targets.”

“The families in my district include gay and lesbian parents who are raising children, just waiting for the state of Illinois to treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve. Those families can no longer be regarded as separate and unequal. I support this legislation because I believe it will help us move our state forward and provide equal protection under the law for all families.”

The Illinois Senate approved the measure in February.

Dunkin, who voted in favor of the state's civil unions law in 2011, said in a radio interview that the legislation remained 12 votes short of passage in the House.

“I also think there's a tremendous momentum in favor of its passage,” Dunkin said on WBEZ's Afternoon Shift. “I think we should have ran the bill earlier in the year, but we are where we are. And irrespective of the opposition, and the opposition is real and large; certainly in the black church, it's tremendous. But we are poised to really do the right thing, right now.”