Illinois military veterans are joining the effort to legalize gay marriage in the state.

A group called "Veterans Unite for Marriage" is pressing the Illinois House to OK same-sex marriage during the legislative session that begins later this month.

Clayton Peterson of Rock Island is a Vietnam veteran. He says despite his service he does not have "the same marital rights as straight couples."

Federal benefits are available to spouses of gay service members, but only if their marriages are recognized in their home states.

Gay marriage legislation won Senate approval in February. But it never had enough support in the House — like the Senate, controlled by Democrats — to get a roll call there before the General Assembly adjourned in May.

Hagen Hopkins, Getty Images
Hagen Hopkins, Getty Images

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