As Illinois gears up for their final decision on marriage equality, President Obama spoke in favor of supporting the equality bill and urged the Illinois House of Representatives “to stand up and be on the side of history.”
“Here in Illinois, we’ve got a vote on same-sex marriage that’s going to be coming up in the state legislature. And I just want to say for the record it’s something that I deeply support,” said Obama, speaking at a fundraising dinner for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Chicago.
“I wrestled with this for a long time and I am absolutely convinced it is the right thing to do. And we have to make sure that wherever we go, we are reminding people that the essence of America is that everybody is treated equally under the law without exception.”
Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov said in a press release, “Here in Springfield, President Obama’s comment should resonate powerfully with his former colleagues in the Illinois General Assembly.
“What’s most important is that he discussed how he wrestled with the issue, as many members of the Illinois House are doing in the closing hours of consideration, but that process led him to understand that marriage equality is the right thing to do.”
The number of equality supporters has increased, with Republican Chair Pat Brady, Former Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, former Ravens player Brendan Ayanbadejo, civil rights activist Julian Bond and former President Bill Clinton lending their support.
Additionally, a collection of prominent faith leaders requested immediate equal protection to all Illinoisans last month.
“The numbers of opponents say the African-American community does not support marriage equality but that’s simply not true, as is shown by polling numbers in the high 50s or lower 60s,” Equality Illinois’s Director of Public Policy Randy Hannig told 429Magazine last month. “Today’s news conference helps contradict our opponents’ message and further underscores our desire to be treated with equity and respect.”
According to a Reuters poll, 63 percent of Americans support marriage equality or civil unions.