Obama encourages Ill. lawmakers to approve marriage equality bill


CHICAGO — President Barack Obama, appearing at a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago Wednesday night, encouraged Illinois state lawmakers to approve a pending marriage equality, calling it “the right thing to do.”

The remarks came at a private, fundraising dinner before 70 supporters, and held at the home of Bettylu and Paul Saltzman in Chicago, where tickets started at $10,000 and topped out at $32,400 — the legal maximum.

“Here in Illinois, we’ve got a vote on same-sex marriage that’s going to be coming up in the state legislature,” the president said. “And I just want to say for the record it’s something that I deeply support.

“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,” said Obama.

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Prior to the event, the President had not previously addressed the marriage equality legislation in his home state, although the White House released a statement last December that stated that he supported the measure.

Obama did not mention the legislation at an earlier reception on Wednesday, attended by approximately 150 supporters, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The marriage bill is expected to be voted on either late Thursday or early Friday before the state legislature adjourns.

Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has already pressed lawmakers to pass the bill, and has said that he will sign the bill into law the minute it hits his desk.

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