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A Republican lawmaker in Illinois has announced his support for gay marriage.

Rep. Ed Sullivan Jr. of Mundelein is the chairman of the House Republican Campaign Organization. He is the first among party leadership to support gay marriage in Illinois. He says his mother-in-law’s involvement in a same-sex relationship prompted his support.

With House lawmakers returning to Springfield Monday after a two week break, supporters say they are now within a dozen votes of the six needed to pass a measure to legalize gay marriage.

Sullivan says his stance represents a personal and family evolution on the issue. Sullivan says his new stance is all about treating people fairly.

Rep. Ron Sandack of Downers Grove is the only other house republican to support the same-sex marriage bill, which has already passed the State Senate.