illinois_approves_gay_marriageIllinois will become the 15th state in America to offer its gay and lesbian citizens the right to get married.

On Tuesday, the Illinois House of Representatives and the Senate approved marriage equality legislation.

The bill now goes to the desk of Governor Pat Quinn for his signature. He has stated that he will sign it into law.

President Obama welcomed the news in a statement released by the White House.

“As President, I have always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally under the law. Over time, I also came to believe that same-sex couples should be able to get married like anyone else,” said Obama.

“So tonight, Michelle and I are overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois whose love will now be as legal as ours – and for their friends and family who have long wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and equally under the law.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest LGBT rights organisation, also applauded the passage of the same-sex marriage bill.

“Today the Land of Lincoln rededicated itself to the proposition that all are created equal,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Thanks to principled impatience from state leaders in Springfield [Illinois’ capital], the overwhelming momentum toward nationwide marriage equality continues to intensify.”

Same-sex marriage licenses will start being issued in Illinois from June next year.

Hawaii, which is in the process of considering a same-sex marriage bill, could be the next American state to legalise marriage equality.

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