CHICAGO (CBS) — After enacting civil unions in Illinois last year, Gov. Pat Quinn said Monday he’s now ready to work towards legalizing gay marriage.
WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports the governor said President Barack Obama’s announcement last week that he favors same-sex marriages is an important step to legalizing gay marriage.
“I was very happy to see the President speak out, as he did last week, and I wanted to lend my voice of support to him,” Quinn said.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger Reports
The governor also said he’s ready to start working with lawmakers on legalizing gay marriage in Illinois.
“Our state has enacted civil unions, the only state in the Midwest,” Quinn said. Illinois is the only state in the Midwest to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples through legislation. Same-sex marriage is legal in Iowa, after that state’s high court struck down a law barring gay marriage.
“Now we will address marriage equality and, as governor, I look forward to working with legislators and the public to make this a reality,” the governor said. “This is a process of democracy. In order to get something changed, you have to get a majority in both houses, and I plan to do that for marriage equality.”
State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), the openly gay lawmaker who spearheaded the effort to legalize same-sex civil unions in Illinois, has also proposed legislation to legalize gay marriage, but has said there isn’t enough support in the General Assembly this year to approve the measure.
According to Quinn, since he signed legislation allowing civil unions, starting last July, more than 3,700 unions have been performed. He called the law a great success.