Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation at a ceremony in Chicago Wednesday, making Illinois the 16th state to allow same sex marriage.
Civil unions have been allowed in Illinois since 2011. On November 5, the same-sex marriage bill was approved by the state House 61-54, just over the 60 votes needed for passage, NBC Chicago reports.
Gov. Quinn signed the legislation on the desk on which Abraham Lincoln wrote his 1861 inaugural address. Before signing the bill, Quinn made mention of another famous speech, the Gettysburg Address, in which Lincoln said, “Our nation was conceived in liberty. And he said it’s dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. And that’s really what we’re celebrating today,” Quinn said.
The Cook County Clerk, whose jurisdiction includes Chicago, announced the office will be open when the new law takes effect on Sunday, June 1, 2014, to process marriage license applications.
“There is no straight or gay marriage. From now on there is only marriage in Illinois,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the signing ceremony on Wednesday.