Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn had a message on gay rights in his State of the State address Feb. 6.
"Marriage equality is coming to Illinois," he told lawmakers.
"Now, it's time to take the next step in achieving full equality," Quinn said. "Let's pass this bill for marriage equality and let's do it now."
Quinn has been vocal about his support for equal marriage and has urged lawmakers to pass a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. Quinn's comments during his State of State address signal that the passage of equal marriage is among his top priorities for 2013.
Quinn's comments come just a day after the Senate Executive Committee approved the bill. It is headed for a full Senate vote, expected on Valentine's Day.
"Our Illinois is not a land of discrimination," Quinn said. "Four years ago, nobody thought civil unions would be possible here. Today, civil unions are the law of our state. Nearly 5,200 couples across 94 counties have joined in a civil union."
Quinn thanked Senate Sponsor Heather Steans and openly gay Representative Greg Harris for their work on the measure.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois praised Quinn's comments and called for swift action on the bill.
"The Governor's words of support for extending the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Illinois are further evidence that the time is now for Illinois to join the growing list of states that recognize the love of same-sex couples with the dignity of marriage," said Ed Yohnka, director of communications for the ACLU, in a statement.
Anthony Martinez, director of The Civil Rights Agenda, also applauded the comments.
"We are very lucky and grateful to have a Governor that is very supportive of the LGBT community," he said in a statement.
In addition to talking about marriage equality, Quinn touched on pensions, jobs, disability issues, clean water, gun control and raising the minimum wage, among other things.