President Obama on Tuesday praised Illinois state lawmakers for approving same-sex marriage, saying he was “so proud” of their vote.
“I applaud the men and women of the Illinois General Assembly, a body in which I was proud to serve, for voting to legalize marriage equality in my home state,” said Obama in a statement.
“As President, I have always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally under the law,” added Obama, who is the first sitting president to publicly endorse gay marriage. “Over time, I also came to believe that same-sex couples should be able to get married like anyone else.”
“So tonight, Michelle and I are overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois whose love will now be as legal as ours — and for their friends and family, who have long wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and equally under the law,” he said.
Democratic Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has said he will sign the bill, which would make Illinois the 15th state to legalize gay marriage. The law would take effect in June 2014.
Obama in May 2012 said he supported same-sex marriage after years of “evolving” on the issue. His shift came shortly after Vice President Joe Biden endorsed gay marriage during an interview on “Meet the Press,” which some said forced Obama to modify his own stance during the election.
Supporters of gay marriage have seen a number of high profile victories in recent months, capped by the Supreme Court ruling in May finding a key section of a federal law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman unconstitutional.