Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday threw his weight behind legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois, calling on the state House to approve the stalled bill.
Pointing to "the days of Abraham Lincoln" for inspiration, Clinton in a statement asks legislators to stand up for the "proposition that all citizens should be treated equally under the law" as they have in the past.
“Illinois has stood for the proposition that all citizens should be treated equally under the law,” Clinton said. “Lincoln himself came to Springfield in search of opportunity, and he dedicated his life to securing equal opportunity for all citizens. I believe that for Illinois and for our nation as a whole, in the 21st century that must include marriage equality.”
Clinton joins a chorus of voices, including Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, who publicly backed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. The legislation passed the Illinois Senate on Valentine's Day, but a lack of votes kept it stalled in the House.
Gov. Pat Quinn said as recently as Monday that he will sign the bill and thinks there are enough votes to get the bill onto his desk.
Clinton said he believes the vote will strengthen the country, putting it closer to the nation's mission of forming a "more perfect union."
“That mission has inspired and empowered us to extend rights to people previously denied them," he said. "Every time we have done that, it has strengthened our nation. Now we should do it again, in Illinois, with marriage equality.”