Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Court Rules That Illinois Same Sex Couples Can Wed Immediately In Cook County

In Lee v. Orr, (ND IL, Feb. 21, 2014), an Illinois federal district court, in a 4-page opinion, held that Illinois statutes barring same-sex marriages violate the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause by discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.  Illinois has already enacted a law allowing same-sex marriages, but that law does not take effect until June 1. (See prior posting.) In this decision, however, the court ruled that same-sex couples need not wait for June:
There is no reason to delay further when no opposition has been presented to this Court and committed gay and lesbian couples have already suffered from the denial of their fundamental right to marry.
However because the suit was filed only against the Cook County Clerk, the court's decision applies only to marriage licenses issued by Cook County. The Chicago Tribune reports that same-sex couples began lining up for marriage licenses within an hour after the ruling was issued.