Dozens of Illinois business leaders and several companies publicly endorsed gay marriage Sunday in an attempt to reignite the issue after a proposed bill failed to get traction in Springfield this month.

State lawmakers aren't scheduled to be at the Capitol much until early February, and sponsors of a measure to grant gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry are likely to need some time to win over dozens of rookie colleagues. But in an open letter issued Sunday, business executives stated their case to lawmakers that marriage equality would strengthen the Illinois workforce and boost economic development.