CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayoral candidate Gery Chico is joining gay rights activists in contacting state lawmakers and urging them to pass a bill for civil unions.

Chico planned to spend part of Monday contacting lawmakers about the bill. It would grant new spousal rights to same-sex partners in a civil union, putting them on par legally with heterosexual married couples when it comes to surrogate decision-making for medical treatment, survivorship, adoptions and accident and health insurance, for example.

But the legislation does not recognize same-sex marriages.

At a weekend meeting with GLBT community leaders at Ann Sather’s, 909 W. Belmont Ave., Chico said he had always been taught that everyone is equal. He said giving equal rights same-sex couples is “a matter of justice and human decency” and “good public policy,” reported.

At the meeting, Chico also spoke in favor of equal rights for transgender workers, a new anti-bullying program in the Chicago Public Schools, and a plan to work with city contractors for same-sex partner benefits, reported.

Mayoral candidates Rahm Emanuel and Carol Moseley Braun have also gone on record in favor of civil unions.

State Sen. Rev. James Meeks (D-Chicago), who has expressed religious opposition to homosexuality, told CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine, “If civil unions is the law of the land the day that I am mayor of the city of Chicago, I will not oppose it.” But as to how he would vote in Springfield, Meeks said, “That’s a question when you interview me as a legislator.”

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said earlier this month that the odds are favorable that the House will approve the bill.

Backers, including Gov. Pat Quinn, have set a goal of getting the legislation to the governor’s desk by year’s end despite opposition from socially conservative and religious organizations.

But the bill also faces stiff opposition from some groups, including the Francis Cardinal George and the Catholic Conference of Illinois. Francis Cardinal George said in a news release last week that “everybody has a right to marry, but no one has the right to change the nature of marriage.”