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Illinois

Ill. judge rules lawsuit challenging same-sex marriage ban can proceed

Friday, September 27, 2013

CHICAGO — A lawsuit seeking to overturn Illinois’ ban on gay marriage can move forward in the courts, a judge ruled Friday, buoying hopes among some same-sex couples that it’s just a matter of time before they can marry in their home state.

Cook County Circuit Judge Sophia Hall denied a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the 25 couples who filed it can argue that they have a fundamental right to marry and that the state’s 17-year-old ban discriminates against them based on sexual orientation.

Illinois“Marriage is the standard in terms of how you define relationships in the U.S.,” said 44-year-old Suzie Hutton, a plaintiff who now is in a civil union with her partner of 11 years, Danielle Cook. “It means something, and we want to be able to say we are married. It’s about being with the one you love, the one who supports you and the one you go through the routine of life with.”

Another plaintiff, Patrick Bova, 75, who has been with his partner, 81-year-old James Darby, for 50 years, said they easily could have gotten married in another state that allows gay marriage. “But we want to get married in Illinois,” he said.

The state law is being defended by five downstate clerks after Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and Attorney General Lisa Madigan refused to do so, saying they agreed with plaintiffs that the ban is unconstitutional.

“We are confident that Illinois’ marriage laws will ultimately be upheld,” said Paul Linton, an attorney for the clerks. “The people of Illinois have always understood marriage as a relationship that may exist only between one man and one woman.”

He said marriage is meant for “the procreation of children and providing a stable environment for such children raised by their biological mother and father.”

Illinois’ lawsuit was filed last year against Cook County Clerk David Orr, a supporter of gay marriage whose office is responsible for issuing marriage li censes in Chicago and the rest of the county. All plaintiffs had applied for and been denied marriage licenses in Cook County.

But in an unusual move, Alvarez and Madigan declined to defend the ban, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, saying it violates the state constitution’s equal protection clause. Alvarez said it’s her job to represent Orr – and they both agreed with the plaintiffs. The downstate clerks later were granted permission to intervene.

Plaintiffs also have filed a motion for summary judgment – basically asking the judge to rule quickly in their favor and declare the ban unconstitutional – saying a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down part of a law denying federal benefits to married gay couples creates a new urgency in the state. Illinois legalized civil unions two years ago, but the recent Supreme Court decision applies only to married gay couples.

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The judge has not said when she will take up that request.

The high court ruling says same-sex married couples must be treated the same as other spouses under federal laws governing taxes, health care, pensions and other federal benefits. It does not account for civil unions.

“Illinois is the only thing standing between these families and full federal respect for their relationships,” said Camilla Taylor, marriage project director for Lambda Legal, which along with the American Civil Liberties Union is representing the plaintiffs.

A separate fight to legalize same-sex marriage has been ongoing in the state Legislature. Proponents will try again this fall to push gay marriage legislation through the General Assembly, where it was not called for a vote in the spring after sponsors said they didn’t have enough votes.

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45 more reader comments:

  1. Thanks Illinois Judge! Please MO start a motion to legalize same sex marriage here too!

    Posted on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 8:50pm
  2. Let's get it legalized everywhere. It will happen sooner or later.

    Replied on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 9:27pm
  3. Hey i am bi and single and i want a gf/bf help me guys ,boared@

    Posted on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 9:06pm
  4. This isn't craigslist.

    Replied on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 3:29am
  5. It should get legalized without a question.

    Posted on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 9:26pm
  6. In a perfect world, it would be. But this world is far from perfect.

    Replied on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 6:36am
  7. Regardless of whatever kinds of language families, we come in pieces, we sleep in pieces, we leave in pieces?

    Replied on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 6:38am
  8. I come in piece.

    Replied on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 3:48am
  9. I come in piece.

    Replied on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 3:48am
  10. Posted on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 10:01pm
  11. ? At first, I thought it said MOVE. :/

    Posted on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 10:21pm
  12. (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y)

    Posted on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 11:02pm
  13. Bout Time 1

    Posted on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 11:28pm
  14. Wisconsin needs to do it to.

    Posted on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 12:01am
  15. Im a lesbian..and I have dated many women…but I cant wait to find THE ONE..that makes my heart smile..everyday! Are uboutvthere my beautiful girl?

    Posted on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 2:37am
  16. Are u out there ? Oops..

    Posted on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 2:38am
  17. Finally!!! Now I can finally say one good thing about the state I lie in…

    Posted on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 10:44am
  18. BAAD in a bad way

    Posted on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 10:57am
  19. STOP MIXING RELIGION WITH GOVERNMENT !!!!

    Posted on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 2:16pm
  20. Pass “Gender Neutral Marriage Equality Act”

    Posted on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 2:17pm
  21. those freaking bastards let them get married!

    Posted on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 3:21pm
  22. You are the pot calling the kettle black! Homo Stultus troll!!!

    Replied on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 5:30pm
  23. How could you not?

    Posted on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 4:06pm
  24. yes!!

    Posted on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 8:11pm
  25. Late

    Posted on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 3:28am
  26. My favorite part is where the state says marriage is for procreation only.

    Sorry Infertile straight couples, guess your marriages are illegal too.

    Posted on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 3:32am
  27. It's even better because so many idiot teens get knocked up, but not married. I guess they're breaking the law as well.

    Replied on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 3:43am
  28. and the olders couples too old for procreationshuld have their marriages cancelled. !!!!!

    Replied on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 3:21am
  29. Or straight couples who choose not tp have kids. I know a few.

    Posted on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 3:39am
  30. Such bullshit…

    Posted on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 3:40am
  31. Now I’m wishing I still lived in Chicago

    Posted on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 3:45am
  32. How many times did Jim Crow laws interracial bans segregation laws and more be retried to be put back in place till it was seen that discrimination was unconstitutional. This is just the new anti human rights move my by religious fanatics and GOP homophobic’s and heterosexist’s.

    It’s going to mark them as the dark side of history in human rights in the “land of the free”.

    Posted on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 4:04am
  33. where do the states come up with the money to blow on going to court over something they’re going to lose?

    Posted on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 4:32am
  34. Posted on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 10:30am
  35. good hope that the ban is lifted

    Posted on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 3:03pm
  36. Now its the time for the House to call the roll and vote

    Posted on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 4:10pm
  37. Finally, I swear if Illinois doesn’t overturn the ban, I will be mighty ashamed of my birth state. Then I will move to another state that does allow me and my future fiance to get married.

    Posted on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 4:43pm
  38. I guess older people shouldn’t bother either–can’t have babies in your 60′s so your marriage doesn’t count.

    Posted on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 5:28pm
  39. how do babies make marriage count?

    Replied on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 9:06pm
  40. its time for chicago

    Posted on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 5:55pm
  41. its time for chicago

    Posted on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 5:55pm
  42. MY FAVORITE PART, IS WHEN YOU ALL DIE OF AIDS!

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 10:08am
  43. BETTER GET TO A CLINIC QUICK! YOU ALL SHOULD BE GOING UP THERE WITH YOUR GAY RALLYS, YOU FUCKING ANAL QUEER FUCKERS!

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 10:09am
  44. FUCKING QUEERS. HOPE YOU ALL DIE OF AIDS. I WILL GANG RAPE YOU ALL!

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 10:13am
  45. FUCKING QUEERS. HOPE YOU ALL DIE OF AIDS. I WILL GANG RAPE YOU ALL!

    Posted on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 10:13am