Military veterans in the US state of Illinois have joined up with efforts to legalise equal marriage in the state.

A group named Veterans United for Marriage, is pushing the Illinois House to allow equal marriage in the legislative session which begins later in October.

The Illinois Senate passed a bill to remove the ban in February, but the bill’s sponsor in the House did not call it for a vote, as he said it did not have enough votes to pass.

In August, opponents of equal marriage in the US state of Illinois celebrated the fact that the bill to legalise same-sex unions never went to a vote.

The bill’s sponsor Greg Harris wept as he announced that, due to a lack of support, the bill would not be voted on. Mr Harris said he planned to lobby for the bill before the next legislative session in the autumn.

A judge in Cook County, Illinois, last week ruled that a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on equal marriage could proceed.

Judge Sophia Hall partially denied a defence motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that it could go ahead on two of the five counts filed.