President Barack Obama on Tuesday cheered passage of a gay marriage bill in Hawaii.

The legislation now heads to the desk of Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie, who could sign the bill into law as early as Wednesday.

(Related: Gay marriage bill clears Hawaii Senate; Governor to sign.)

“I want to congratulate the Hawaii State Legislature on passing legislation in support of marriage equality,” Obama said in an emailed statement. “With today's vote, Hawaii joins a growing number of states that recognize that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should be treated fairly and equally under the law. Whenever freedom and equality are affirmed, our country becomes stronger. By giving loving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry if they choose, Hawaii exemplifies the values we hold dear as a nation. I've always been proud to have been born in Hawaii, and today's vote makes me even prouder. And Michelle and I extend our best wishes to all those in Hawaii whose families will now be given the security and respect they deserve.”