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Illinois judge combines Lambda Legal, ACLU marriage equality lawsuits

Illinois judge combines Lambda Legal, ACLU marriage equality lawsuits

A Cook County, Ill., judge on Thursday consolidated the two separate lawsuits representing 25 Illinois gay and lesbian couples asserting the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The lawsuits were filed late last month by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and Lambda Legal against Cook County Clerk David Orr.

During a hearing Thursday at the Daley Center, Judge Moshe Jacobius granted the suing parties’ request to combine the suits.

Now under a single suit, the plaintiffs allege that by refusing to grant them marriage licenses, Orr’s office violated the equal protections and due process clauses under the Illinois Constitution.

Both supporters of the suit and those who are against it, though, are unclear as to will defend the state’s law, which forbids two citizens of the same sex from marrying.

Cook County Sate’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan have both come out in support of the lawsuits in recent weeks, agreeing that the law is unconstitutional.

Orr, who has personally expressed his support for marriage equality in the past, also commended the suits — the day they were filed.

It is likely that a third party organization will step in to take on the lawsuit, if the court approves.

The Thomas More Society, a conservative public interest law firm that opposes same-sex marriage, pledged that it would petition the court to have its own attorneys defend the state’s marriage law. However, no such petition has been filed, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

The next hearing in the case has not yet been scheduled.

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