CHICAGO -- The fight to legalize gay marriage in Illinois is receiving a big endorsement.
On Sunday, more than 200 Illinois pastors and rabbis penned an open letter in support of the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.
The act, also known as House Bill 5170, would provide same-sex couples and their children the same marriage rights afforded to different-sex couples.
In the letter, the clergy members say "marriage rights for all people is a matter of justice and equality."
State Senator Dave Koehler, a co-sponsor of the bill, says this is just another sign the state is ready to legalize same-sex marriage.
"We're pretty close," said Sen. Koehler, (D) 46th District. "It's an issue that certainly every new generation comes into the voting age, we see it becoming less and less controversial. I think it's a matter of when not a matter of if."
The hundreds of clergy and faith leaders say they wrote the letter as individuals and not as representatives of their congregations.
The group plans to deliver the letter to lawmakers, who are expected to take up the issue when they reconvene for the lame duck session in January.