I write today to inform you of the joyous news that the Illinois House of Representatives voted in favor of Marriage Equality. Once signed by Governor Quinn, Illinois will join the growing list of states that permit and recognize a full marriage of individuals of the same sex. Beginning on June 1, 2014, same-sex couples will have equal opportunities under the law to enjoy the legal protections and benefits of marriage, community, and family in Illinois.

LGBT equality is one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time, and they fully deserve the same benefits and opportunities as anyone else – including the right to marry the one they love. Yesterday was a landmark day in Illinois and I am honored to not only have been a co-sponsor, but to also press that little green button. 

This day is long overdue, and it is something many of you have been fighting years for. By giving members of the LGBT community the recognition of equal rights, I hope this provides clarification and comfort to those struggling with their own identity. Too many youths and teens succumb to the pressures that they face in our society, and hopefully this gives them the confidence that it’s okay to be who they are.

Lastly, I would like to thank Representative Greg Harris whose tireless work and great leadership made this historic legislation possible.