Gay marriage is now legal in Illinois. Governor Pat Quinn signed marriage equality into law on Wednesday at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Over 2,000 people packed into the University of Illinois-Chicago Forum to watch the signing ceremony.
Illinois became the 16th US state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Under the bill, the definition of marriage in Illinois would change from an act between a man and a woman to one between two people.
Civil unions could be converted to marriages within a year of the law going on the books.
Approximately 6,500 applications for civil unions have been filed since 2011, with about 4,000 originating in Cook County.
The law will take effect on 1st June, 2014.
“Love never fails and I’m going to sign this bill right now,” said Quinn, who used many pens to sign his name to the bill so that those who helped pass the measure could have a souvenir.
Sheila Simon, Lieutenant Governor of the state of Illinois, said: “It’s time to stop planning rallies and start planning weddings.”
Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel and many elected officials and celebrities also attended and celebrated the signing into law with thousands of LGBT couples, families, people and their friends.
President Obama also expressed support of his home state, Illinois, passing the bill, earlier this month: “As I said in my Inaugural Address last January, our journey as a nation is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
Illinois followed Hawaii joined a growing trend of legislation and litigation in favor of same-sex couples following the US Supreme Court’s decision in July to strike down a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
Earlier this year, four other states, Delaware, Minnesota, Rhode Island and New Jersey, have also begun allowing same-sex marriage ceremonies to be performed.
Earlier the conservative Roman Catholic group America Needs Fatima said the passing of the bill in Illinois is to blame for severe storms and tornadoes that hit Illinois, killing at least 8, wounding dozens on Sunday.