Democrats in the state of Illinois have delayed a vote that was planned for today to make same-sex marriage legal.

Senator Heather Steans, Democrat State Senator for Mr Obama’s home city of Chicago hoped to answer Governor Pat Quinn’s wish that he can sign into law equal marriage as early as this month.

She and colleagues had planned to pass the legislation during the “lame-duck” session being held today before the new legislature is sworn in on the 9th January.

Ms Steans said that she felt there would be enough support for the bill in the new legislature but two supportive Democrats and one supportive Republican politician was absent from today’s session. She told reporters that she hopes that a vote could take place next week or after the 9th of January.

Although the Democrats hold a 35 to 24 majority in the Senate, not all Democrats are on board for the measure. Earlier this week, a prominent local Republican chairman said that it was time for gay couples to be given equal rights to marry.

At the weekend, a spokesman for President Barack Obama said: “While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect.

“As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so. Were the President still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally,.”

In 2010, the Illinois Senate passed a measure introducing same-sex civil unions.