Lambda Legal, ACLU to seek ‘swift ruling’ in challenge to Ill. gay marriage ban


CHICAGO — Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois said Tuesday they plan to file a motion for summary judgment, asking for a swift ruling in an ongoing lawsuit seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois.

The legal advocacy groups each filed lawsuits on May 30, 2012, representing a total of 25 same-sex couples from across the state of Illinois seeking the freedom to marry.

The lawsuits argue that prohibiting same-sex couples and their children from marriage is a violation of the Illinois Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and due process.

Two days later, the Illinois Attorney General’s office filed papers agreeing that barring same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional. In June 2012, a Cook County, Ill., judge consolidated the two separate lawsuits.

In July 2012, two downstate Illinois county clerks were approved by the court to defend Illinois’ same-sex marriage ban after Cook County Clerk David Orr and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez refused to defend the law.

Last November, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sophia Hall rejected motions by two anti-gay churches and the Illinois Family Institute, an anti-gay hate group, to intervene in the case.

Lambda Legal attorney Camilla Taylor said the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down part of a federal law denying benefits to married gay couples creates a new urgency for a decision in Illinois.

Illinois has civil unions, but without marriage, couples in those civil unions are still denied federal marriage benefits.

Wednesday’s planned Motion for Summary Judgment in Cook County Circuit Court will be supported by friend-of-the-court briefs on behalf of numerous organizations including the Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund (MALDEF), The Chicago Bar Association, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, and The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.

The Lambda Legal suit is Darby v. Orr and the case history is here. The ACLU suit is Lazaro and Matos v. Orr and that case history is here.

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