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Vernita Gray, gay rights activist and among the first to marry in Ill., has died

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Charles Rex Arbogast, APVernita Gray, left, and Patricia Ewert, smile after their wedding ceremony in Chicago on November 27, 2013. They were the first couple to be married after the gay marriage law was signed by the governor.
CHICAGO -- A gay rights activist, who was one half of the first same-sex couple to marry in Illinois, has died at age 65. Family friend Jim Bennett says Vernita Gray died late Tuesday of cancer at the same Chicago home where she married Patricia Ewert in late November.

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Terminally ill woman, partner exchange vows in Illinois’ first same-sex wedding

Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Charles Rex Arbogast, APHolding their Illinois marriage license, Vernita Gray, left, and Patricia Ewert kiss after they were married by Cook County Judge Patricia Logue, the first gay marriage in Illinois, at the couple's home Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, in Chicago.
CHICAGO -- Two Chicago women on Wednesday became the first same-sex couple to say their vows in Illinois after a federal judge granted an expedited marriage license because of one woman's ailing health.

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Terminally ill woman, partner to be first same-sex couple to marry in Illinois

Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Timmy Samuel, Courtesy of Starbelly Studios (AP)This June 2011photo provided by Starbelly Studios in Chicago shows Vernita Gray, left, and Patricia Ewert smiling during their civil union ceremony at Millennium Park in Chicago.
CHICAGO -- Even as they celebrated their home state becoming the 16th to legalize same-sex marriage, Chicago couple Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert couldn't help but feel bitter disappointment: Marriages cannot legally start in Illinois until June 1, 2014, a day one of them might not live to see.

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