May 30, 2013 at 9:07 am EDT | by Chris Johnson
Obama calls Ill. marriage equality passage ‘the right thing to do’
President Obama calls passage of Ill. marriage equality legislation the "right thing to do" (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

President Obama calls passage of Ill. marriage equality legislation the “right thing to do” (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

President Obama took note of the effort to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois during an appearance at a Chicago fundraiser Wednesday night, calling enactment of the bill “the right thing to do.”

Obama drew on his own purported “evolution” in support of marriage equality as he addressed the estimated 70 people at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event.

“Here in Illinois, we’ve got a vote on same-sex marriage that’s going to be coming up in the state legislature,” Obama said. “And I just want to say for the record it’s something that I deeply support. I wrestled with this for a long time and I am absolutely convinced it is the right thing to do. And we have to make sure that wherever we go, we are reminding people that the essence of America is that everybody is treated equally under the law without exception.”

The DCCC fundraiser — one of two the Obama attended on Wednesday while in Chicago — was held at the private residence of Bettylu and Paul Saltzman. Ticket prices ranged from $10,000 per person or $32,400 per couple.

Attendees included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), DCCC Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-N.Y.).

Although Obama never before personally addressed the Illinois marriage equality legislation, the White House said in December that Obama supports passage of the bill in the state where he once he served as a state legislator and U.S. senator.

The marriage equality legislation in Illinois legislature already passed the Senate in February by a 34-21 vote. The legislation has stalled for months in the House, but advocates have expressed optimism the bill will pass by the end of this month.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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