Cook County to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately

Today, a federal judge ruled that the Cook County Clerk’s office in Illinois can begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately, months ahead of the original June implementation date.

Christopher Clark, a Counsel for Lambda Legal, reacted to the news:

The wait is over! We are thrilled that the court recognized the unfairness of forcing same-sex couples to wait for months to marry. Justice has prevailed and full equality is no longer delayed for Illinoisans who wish to marry in Cook County before June 1st.

While Illinois received great news back in November, when the Illinois legislature passed the freedom to marry in our state, loving couples were asked to wait until the summer until they could formalize their commitment to one another. In an attempt to urge to courts to expedite this process, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois filed a complaint on December 24th, on behalf of multiple same-sex couples in Illinois who were asking to seek marriage licenses immediately. The lawsuit asked the courts to deem withholding marriage licenses until June unconstitutional, which Federal Judge Coleman affirmed this morning.

John Knight, LGBT and AIDS Project Director for the ACLU of Illinois, commended Judge Coleman’s decision:

We’re thrilled that Judge Coleman recognized the serious harm to the many Illinois families from continuing to deny them the freedom to marry. The U.S. Constitution guarantees these families the personal and emotional benefits as well as the critical legal protections of marriage now, and we are thankful that the court extended this dignity to couples immediately.

With the freedom to marry now available to same-sex couples in Cook County, Illinois Unites for Marriage hopes the rest of the state will see marriage equality before June. Congratulations, Illinois couples!