Illinois Representative LaShawn Ford has endorsed a gay marriage bill before the Illinois House.

After passage in the Senate on Valentine's Day, the bill, which would make Illinois the 13th state to legalize such unions, stalled in the House.

Supporters have only 3 days left before the end of the regular legislative session to move the bill through the House and on to Governor Pat Quinn's desk, who has pledged his signature.

Ford, a previously undecided Democrat, called marriage equality “historic” in pledging his support.

“When you think about the moral issue, this is about advancing opportunity, the opportunity for all people to pursue life, liberty and happiness. As Democrats we are about opportunity, about including people, not excluding,” said Ford, who two years earlier voted for the state's civil unions law.

“What really turns me is how the gay and lesbian community has taken a page from the Civil Rights Movement. I respect the hard work, the tenacity, the fortitude, the organization of the gay community in pursuing this. This should remind the African-American community what hard work [on political issues] does. This will go down in history as an example of how to effect change in the world.”