CHICAGO – Illinois’ governor signed legislation Wednesday allowing same-sex weddings, making President Barack Obama’s home state the 16th in the U.S. to legalize gay marriage.
Gov. Pat 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.”
Gay marriage is allowed in Washington D.C., and 15 other states. Hawaii’s governor signed a measure last week.
“We’ve realized that to have a forward-looking state, you cannot have backward-looking laws that discriminate against good and talented people, regardless of their sexual orientation,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at Wednesday’s ceremony.
The law takes effect June 1, when same-sex couples can begin applying for marriage licenses.
Legislation is pending that could change the effective date to immediately. Lawmakers aren’t expected to gather for regular session until the end of January.