In the US, a New York based equal marriage advocacy group has laid out plans to pump funds into several states’ legislative battles to legalise equal marriage.

Freedom to Marry, a national marriage equality advocacy group, donated over $700,000 (£450,000) into Minnesota’s succesful campaign last year to oppose a constitutional ban on equal marriage.

It has now said that it hoped to raise $2 million (£1.27 million) to spread across several states debating equal marriage laws.

Five states, including Minnesota, which last year avoided a constitutional ban on marriage equality, will receive $800,000 (£510,000) according to new plans by the group.

Freedom to Marry plans to spend the money in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island, as well as Minnesota.

On Tuesday, Illinois came one step closer to legalising equal marriage, as a bill to legalise it passed the Senate Executive Committee, 9 votes to 5. The bill will now face the vote in the full senate.

Last Thursday, four contesting bills to legalise equal marriage and constitutionally ban it were all brought before the Hawaii State House.

On Boxing Day in New Jersey, the state’s first openly gay lawmaker, who previously opposed putting gay marriage to referendum, has decided that he now endorses putting the decision to ballot.

In December, the head of the main group which led the campaign to vote ‘no’ on a bill which would have banned equal marriage, said it would seek to lobby Minnesotan lawmakers in 2013 to legalise equal marriage. 

“As we move toward securing the freedom to marry for our state, this investment shows the level of commitment and confidence that soon all loving and committed couples can join marriage in Minnesota,” Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, said in a statement.