A politician in the US state of Illinois announced yesterday she was engaged to her girlfriend but must marry in another state.

Deborah Mell, a Chicago Democrat, rose to tell the House she had some “bittersweet” news to share.

She announced she will marry her partner of six years in Iowa, where gay marriage is legal.

Mell said: “Now, Iowa is a great place, but it isn’t the state where I grew up. It isn’t the state where I represent 100,000 people … and it isn’t the state where my family and friends live.

“So while this is a happy day and one to celebrate, it is also bittersweet.”

Illinois does not have civil unions and voters supported a 1996 constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

“I am aware that our governor and many of you on both sides of the aisle do not consider me equal to you and our relationship equal to the relationship you share with your spouse,” Mell said.

“I think we are more alike than we are different.”

After her announcement, Mell was joined by her fiancee Christin Baker and the couple were congratulated by other lawmakers.

Civil unions legislation was introduced in Illinois recently, but stalled.

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