Illinois clergy members advocate for gay marriage

CHICAGO (AP) — A group of clergy members is pushing to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois.

More than 200 pastors and rabbis released an open letter Sunday calling for legislators to approve legislation allowing gay marriage. They say it's a matter of equality, conscience and justice. The group plans to send the letter to lawmakers.

State Rep. Greg Harris and state Sen. Heather Steans say they'll call for a vote on the gay marriage bill when lawmakers gather in January. The legislation would offer same-sex couples marriage rights now only available to heterosexual couples.

The Chicago Democrats say public opinion favoring equal rights for same-sex partners is moving rapidly. Four states voted in favor of the issue or opposed a ban on it last month.

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The bill is HB5170.