Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Monday
will sign a bill that offers gay and lesbian couples many of the
benefits of marriage.
Quinn will sign the bill in front of a
capacity crowd at 4PM at the Chicago Cultural Center in Chicago's
Loop. Over a thousand people are expected to attend the signing
Lawmakers approved the legislation
during last month's lame-duck session of the Legislature. The law
will go into effect on July 1, 2011.
Several candidates vying to replace
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley supported the law and many, including
Daley, have called on the state to legalize gay marriage.
“Finally, they [state lawmakers]
realized they should have the same rights under state law,” Daley
told the Chicago Sun-Times. “But eventually, [gay] marriage
will take place. It has to … We have to move faster.”
Daley is among the lawmakers expected
to attend Monday's ceremony.
Rahm Emanuel, who resigned as White
House chief of staff in September to run for the post after Daley
announced he wouldn't seek a seventh term, pledged
his support for gay rights – including marriage – on Friday.
Illinois is the second state after New
Jersey to offer civil unions. The
Hawaii Senate approved a similar bill on Friday. Five states and
the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage. Several other
states – including California and Nevada – recognize gay and
lesbian couples with domestic partnerships.