CHICAGO

Rahm Emanuel: Gay Marriage's 'Time Is Now' In Illinois (VIDEO)

11/14/2012 03:26 pm ET | Updated Nov 14, 2012

Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday penned an op-ed urging Illinois state lawmakers to build on last year's legalization of civil unions for same-sex couples by bringing marriage equality to the Prairie State.

"The City of Chicago and the State of Illinois have a special place in our nation’s history as leader in our nation’s struggle to equality to all," Emanuel wrote Tuesday. "Marriage equality is the next step in our nation’s march forward. Illinois must lead the way.

In a press conference Tuesday, the mayor further emphasized that marriage equality ranks third on the list of priorities he hopes to see the state's General Assembly take on over the course of their upcoming session in Springfield -- behind pension reform and a Chicago casino. He said he plans to be "very involved" in the issue, according to NBC Chicago.

"The time for marriage equality is now. The time is right and the time is here," the mayor said Tuesday.

The mayor's comments also follow three states -- Maine, Maryland and Washington -- moving on Election Day to approve same-sex marriage via ballot questions -- something that had never before been accomplished in any state.

Election Day also left the Illinois state legislature with veto-proof Democratic majorities in both the state House and Senate, and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn is also on board with marriage equality.

State Rep. Greg Harris, the chief sponsor of Illinois' marriage equality bill, told the Chicago Sun-Times that he and other proponents of the measure may bring up the bill during the legislature's January lame-duck session. Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union also filed lawsuits on the matter earlier this year.

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