Victory! Court Grants Immediate Freedom to Marry to Illinois Same-Sex Couples
(Chicago, IL, February 21, 2014) — A federal court today ordered the Cook County Clerk’s office to provide marriage licenses immediately to same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry, rather than require them to wait until June, the default implementation date for the marriage equality bill passed by the Illinois legislature last year. The decision in the case, Lee v. Orr, filed on behalf of several Illinois couples seeking to marry immediately by Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois in December, is the latest development in the momentum for marriage in Illinois.
“We’re thrilled that Judge Coleman recognized the serious harm to the many Illinois families from continuing to deny them the freedom to marry,” said John Knight, LGBT and AIDS Project Director for the ACLU of Illinois. “The U.S. Constitution guarantees these families the personal and emotional benefits as well as the critical legal protections of marriage now, and we are thankful that the court extended this dignity to couples immediately.”
On Friday, December 6th, Lambda Legal and the ACLU filed Lee v. Orr, a class action lawsuit on behalf of all Illinois same-sex couples who apply to marry in Cook County prior to June 1, 2014. Lambda Legal and the ACLU also filed an emergency motion seeking immediate issuance of marriage licenses to Elvie Jordan and Challis Gibbs, and Ronald Dorfman and Ken Ilio, and all other same-sex couples facing terminal illness. The court granted this emergency motion on Wednesday, December 11th, permitting same-sex couples facing a terminal illness to marry immediately by presenting a doctor’s certification. On December 24th, the ACLU and Lambda Legal filed a motion for summary judgment asking the court to find unconstitutional Illinois laws that continue to exclude same-sex couples and their children from marriage until June 1, 2014, the default implementation date for the marriage legislation that passed through the Illinois General Assembly last fall. Today’s decision, effective immediately, allows any same-sex couple in Illinois who meets the other requirements for marriage to apply for and be issued a license allowing them to marry in Cook County.