Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Wednesday allowing same-sex weddings starting this summer, making President Barack Obama’s home state the 16th overall — and largest in the nation’s heartland — to legalize gay marriage.
Speaking in front of thousands at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Quinn said the new law ensured that “Illinois does not have a situation where individuals are discriminated against in any way when it comes to love and marriage.”
Illinois state senators voted to legalize gay marriage last February, and the state House followed suit by a slim margin earlier this month. After being signed by the Democratic governor, the law is due to take effect on June 1, 2014.
Gay marriage is now legal in Washington D.C., and 15 other states including Hawaii, whose governor signed a similar measure last week.
Even with support from top business leaders, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the state attorney general and a few top Republicans, several lawmakers were resistant to the idea. That included Democrats in more conservative southern Illinois and some Chicago-area lawmakers.