The Illinois House on Tuesday approved a bill which seeks to make it the 15th state to legalize gay marriage.

The bill must return to the Senate – which approved the measure on Valentine's Day – for a procedural vote. Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has pledged his signature.

“This is a great day for Illinois and for the rest of the country,” Rick Garcia, policy director for The Civil Rights Agenda, said in an emailed statement. “Fairness, decency and equality were affirmed by our legislature. Same-gender couples will have the same state benefits as their heterosexual counterparts.”

The measure cleared the chamber with one vote to spare (61-54).

In addressing the chamber, Rep. Greg Harris, the bill's champion in the House, said: “At the end of the day, this bill is about love. It's about family. It's about commitment.”

The bill was left on the back burner in May, when Harris tearfully told supporters that the bill did not have the votes needed to clear the chamber. He promised to hold the vote during the short fall session.

The measure received a boost this week from House Speaker Michael Madigan's lobbying efforts.