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Obama endorses Illinois gay marriage bill

President Barack Obama is endorsing a gay marriage bill two state senators plan to introduce during a lame-duck session of the Illinois legislature this week.

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Obama first publicly announced his support of gay marriage in an interview with ABC News in May 2012. (ABC News /Screengrab)

President Barack Obama, a former member of the Illinois state senate, is endorsing a gay marriage bill two state senators plan to introduce during a lame-duck session of the Illinois legislature this week, Reuters reported.

According to Reuters:

It's an unusual move by a president - most of whom rarely weigh in on state legislative matters.

"Were the president still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally," White House spokesman Shin Inouye told Reuters.

State lawmakers could take up the bill as soon as Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reported. State Sen. Heather Steans, a co-sponsor of the proposal with State Rep. Greg Harris, said they will only call for a vote if they are sure the measure will pass.

Obama has prominent company in his support for gay marriage in Illinois. This week, Illinois Unites for Marriage, a coalition of gay marriage advocates comprised of the Equality Illinois, the ACLU and Lambda Legal, plans to release a letter signed by Illinois businessmen and companies that argues that same-sex marriage is good for the economy, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Google, Morningstar founder Joe Mansueto and PrivateBancorp Inc. Chairman Norman Bobins are among the signatories, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"It struck me as the right thing to do," Mansueto told the Chicago Tribune. "My view is that if two people want to commit to each other, gender is not relevant. … Having more families and households in society is a good thing."

If Illinois lawmakers approve the proposal, the state will become the tenth state to allow same-sex marriage, according to Reuters.

More from GlobalPost: Illinois church leaders voice support for gay marriage
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/121230/obama-endorses-illinois-gay-marriage-bill