Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy has written a letter to his hometown newspaper urging local politicians to vote for a new bill which will legalise same-sex marriage in the state of Illinois.

In his letter to the editor of the Belleville News-Democrat, the singer/songwriter insists that denying gay men and lesbians to legally exchange vows is hurting Illinois "families and businesses".

He writes, "In my travels, I've witnessed firsthand that gay and lesbian couples want to marry for the same reasons all of us do - to share a lifetime of commitment. I feel very strongly that everyone should be able to marry the person he or she loves and enjoy the dignity and respect that comes with that commitment.

"By excluding same-sex couples from marriage, our state saddles them, their children and itself with second-class status. That is wrong, and it hurts Illinois families and businesses.

"Nine other states have already extended the freedom to marry to gay and lesbian couples. I work and have friends in all those states, and I can say assuredly that it's time for Illinois to join them. Waiting and sending the signal that we're not open to and supportive of that community is a big mistake."