Obama pushes for marriage equality in Illinois

President Obama is pushing for the Illinois General Assembly to pass a marriage equality bill.

Illinois already has a civil-unions law on the books, but lawmakers could take up the “Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act” as early as next week.

“While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye told the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday.

“As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so. Were the president still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally,” Inouye said.

Illinois legalized civil-unions in June of 2011. A civil-union grants only partial rights of marriage to same sex partners.

Experts predict the measure will likely see most of it’s opposition in the Illinois House, but has a better chance of approval in the Illinois Senate. Both houses are dominated by a super-majority of Democrats. If the bill passes, Illinois would be the tenth state to approve same sex marriage.

Obama endorsed gay marriage back in May, after he says he struggled with the issue. “At a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama told ABC’s Robin Roberts.

No Midwest state has approved gay marriage by a vote of its legislature.

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