Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel has urged Illinois lawmakers to legalize gay marriage, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Emanuel, who resigned as White House chief of staff in September to run for the post after Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley announced he wouldn't seek a seventh term, pledged his support for gay rights – including marriage – on Friday.

Emanuel made his remarks during an event at the city's Center on Halsted, which serves the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

He praised Illinois lawmakers for approving last month a bill that recognizes gay couples with civil unions, but added that “the march goes on to marriage.” Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will sign the bill into law on Monday.

The event was attended by leaders of some of the city's largest gay organizations and the state's four openly gay elected officials.

Announced at the event was the LGBT Committee for Rahm.

Committee organizer Mona Noriega called Emanuel “a proven friend to our community.”

“We have an excellent champion in Rahm Emanuel,” Robert Kohl, co-founder of the Center on Halsted, said.

The committee has attracted more than 200 members and has scheduled a February 11 fund-raiser.