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Illinois Governor signs measure to legalize gay marriage

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, left, and Illinois Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, right, look on as gay marriage legislation passes on the House floor during veto session Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 in Springfield Ill.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, left, and Illinois Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, right, look on as gay marriage legislation passes on the House floor during veto session Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 in Springfield Ill. Seth Perlman /AP Photo

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.

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