Chicago Mayor Richard Daley thanked the Illinois General Assembly for passing a bill authorizing civil unions in the state.
The legislation passed this week by both the House and Senate offers gay and lesbian couples many of the same legal rights as married couples in Illinois.
"I'm very happy with that," Daley said. "I think finally they realized that they should have the same rights under state law which is really important, and eventually marriage will take place, it has to be. I'm very happy and pleased. I hope the governor signs it as quickly as possible. These are great citizens."
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has said he supports civil unions.
The measure passed by a narrow margin in both chambers.