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After 50 years together, Illinois marriage plaintiffs exchange vows

Monday, June 2, 2014
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Jim Darby (left) and Patrick Bova

Jim Darby (left) and Patrick Bova

CHICAGO — Jim Darby and Patrick Bova, lead plaintiffs in Lambda Legal’s lawsuit seeking marriage equality for same-sex couples in Illinois, were married Monday after more than 50 years together.

Among those attending the wedding at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art was Gov. Pat Quinn. The ceremony was among the first same-sex weddings as a new law takes effect statewide. The museum hosted 14 same-sex weddings Monday.

Darby and Bova entered into a civil union in 2011 when Illinois began offering them. Both have been gay rights activists in Illinois for years.

Dressed in suits, the two walked hand-in-hand to a canopied altar adorned with candles in glass sculptures. Among the guests at the ceremony, held at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, were some of Illinois’ most prominent gay-rights activists. The museum hosted 14 same-sex weddings Monday.

Darby, a veteran, said he was relieved his partner could qualify for survivor benefits.

“I am a retired school teacher. I have a nice pension. If I kick the bucket, it evaporates because I don’t have a spouse. Now I have a spouse. If I kick the bucket, he gets it,” Darby joked.

Bova said it was a defining moment.

“It makes you look at things in a slightly different way,” he said. “We are really committed to each other, isn’t that wonderful?”

Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal, said “Jim and Patrick are examples of how nurturing and strong love can be.”

“I’m honored to know them and toast their great American love story,” she said.

Watch their story in this 2012 video from Lambda Legal:

Illinois’ same-sex marriage law took effect Sunday. Only a few county clerks’ offices opened to issue paperwork because the day fell on a weekend. That left Monday as the law’s widespread rollout date.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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