Bill Clinton, Obama Urge Illinois to Pass Marriage Equality

As an Illinois House vote on marriage equality approaches, former President Bill Clinton is speaking out in support of it.

ClintonSaid Clinton in a statement yesterday:

"Our nation's permanent mission is to form a ‘more perfect union’ – deepening the meaning of freedom, broadening the reach of opportunity, strengthening the bonds of community. That mission has inspired and empowered us to extend rights to people previously denied them.  Every time we have done that, it has strengthened our nation. Now we should do it again, in Illinois, with marriage equality. Since the days of Abraham Lincoln, Illinois has stood for the proposition that all citizens should be treated equally under the law. Lincoln himself came to Springfield in search of opportunity, and he dedicated his life to securing equal opportunity for all citizens.  I believe that for Illinois and for our nation as a whole, in the 21st century that must include marriage equality.”

IllinoisThe White House urged Illinois to pass it as well:

"Were the president still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally," spokesman Shin Inouye said in response to a question from POLITICO. Obama's support for the bill comes after former President Bill Clinton endorsed it earlier Tuesday.

"While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect," Inouye said. "As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so."

Earlier this week, lawmakers said that the votes to pass the bill are there. A vote has not yet been scheduled.