Durbin urges Illinois legislature to legalize gay marriage

"I don't often write to express my position on issues before the Grand Assembly. But as a citizen of this Land of Lincoln, I want to be clearly on record in regard to an issue of historic importance," Durbin writes in the letter sent Thursday. "I believe those whom God has brought to this Earth with a different sexual orientation and who seek a loving relationship in the eyes of the law should be given that opportunity.

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"I urge you to vote for Marriage Equality in Illinois so that our state can be part of the emerging national consensus on this issue of justice."

Durbin's letter follows the state's GOP chairman, Pat Brady, saying on Wednesday that legalizing gay marriage "honors the best conservative principles." The White House has also reportedly urged the Illinois legislature, where President Obama used to serve, to legalize same-sex marriage.

"My own views on this issue have evolved over the years, and as I reflect on my support for marriage equality, I have concluded that ending this discrimination is consistent with the evolution of civil rights in our democracy — a process served so nobly by a former member of the General Assembly, Abraham Lincoln," Durbin continues in the letter.

On Wednesday, gay marriage legislation stalled in the legislature after Republicans in the state Senate blocked a push for the bill to be taken up by a committee. Illinois Democrats say they still have enough votes to pass the bill and the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Heather Steans (D), plans to make another push to move the bill closer to passage on Thursday. 

Read Durbin's letter below:

Durbin urges legalizing gay marriage in Illinois

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