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updated: 5/2/2013 11:29 PM

Country music stars back gay marriage in Illinois

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Associated Press

Four country music stars are announcing their support for legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois.

"Big" Kenny Alphin of the musical duo Big & Rich, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Emmy Lou Harris and Rodney Crowell signed an open letter released Thursday.

They say "gay or straight, when two people are lucky enough to find each other and want to commit their lives to one another, it is nothing less than a blessing to us all."

The letter comes as a bill to allow gay marriage is pending in the Illinois House. The Senate approved the measure in February, and Gov. Pat Quinn supports it.

Opponents say gay marriage is detrimental to families and against God's teachings.

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