Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Wednesday signed a gay marriage bill into law, joining Illinois with 15 other states plus the District of Columbia that allow gay couples to marry.

The Democratic governor signed the legislation during a signing ceremony before roughly 3,000 people at UIC Forum, the 22,000 square foot open space at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Chicagoan Sami Grisafe opened the ceremony with a rendition of the National Anthem accompanied by a ukulele.

Politicians who spoke at the ceremony included Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Secretary of State Jesse White, Comptroller of Illinois Judy Baar Topinka, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senator Heather Steans and Rep. Greg Harris.

“I am a proud Illinoisan today,” Simon told the crowd. “It's time to stop planning rallies and time to start planning weddings.”

Topinka, a Republican, thanked Republican lawmakers who helped pass the marriage bill.

“It has been a long and bumpy road getting to this place,” said Steans, who championed the bill in the Senate.

The accolades for Harris were frequent and well deserved, with Quinn calling him a “great leader of democracy.”

The 58-year-old openly gay Harris was forced to retreat on the bill in May after making repeated promises that he would get the bill over the finish line in the House.

Harris called the bill “a labor love and a mammoth undertaking” in thanking numerous supporters.

Emanuel added: “We've realized to have a forward moving state, you cannot have backward moving laws.”

Gay rights activist Patrick Bova received a loud round of applause when he said that he and Jim, his partner of 50 years, can finally be newlyweds.

Before signing the bill, Quinn stated: “Love never fails.”

In 2011, Quinn signed a civil unions bill into law at an event that drew roughly 1,000 people to the Chicago Cultural Center.

The Illinois Senate approved the marriage bill on Valentine's Day. The House followed suit earlier this month by a slim margin.

Passage in Illinois follows similar gains this fall in New Jersey and Hawaii.

Gay and lesbian couples will be able to marry in the state starting June 1.