Judge refuses to delay lawsuit over Illinois’ same-sex marriage ban

Judge refuses to delay lawsuit over Illinois’ same-sex marriage ban

CHICAGO — A judge in Cook County, Ill., on Wednesday denied a request to delay action on a lawsuit seeking to overturn Illinois’ ban on same-sex marriage.

The Chicago-based Thomas More Society requested the delay. The public interest law firm opposes gay marriage and wanted the lawsuit delayed pending U.S. Supreme Court action on same-sex marriage.

“The cases up for review in the United States Supreme Court involve different parties and a different body of law — Illinois courts do not permit a defendant to stall a case based on speculation about what may happen in someone else’s lawsuit involving a different body of law,” said Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal.

“We are pleased that our case will move forward and that loving, committed Illinois couples will have the chance to get to the heart of this case and explain to this Court why marriage is so important to their families,” she said.

Separate lawsuits, filed last May by the American Civil Liberties Union and New York-based Lambda Legal, have since have been consolidated — the suit represents 25 couples who were denied marriage licenses in Cook County, and challenges a state law that defines marriage as between a man and woman.

Cook County Prosecutor Anita Alvarez and Attorney General Lisa Madigan have refused to defend the suit, claiming the gay marriage ban violates the Illinois Constitution.

“The motion made by the Thomas More Society was a distraction that attempted to delay the inevitable,” said John Knight, Director, LGBT/AIDS Project for the ACLU of Illinois. “We are looking forward to the day Illinois same-sex couples will be able to tell their stories in court.”

The Illinois state Senate is expected to take a vote Thursday on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

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