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Illinois gay rights and marriage equality news
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Edge Boston reports:
The Cook County clerk’s office says it has issued 575 marriage licenses to same-sex couple in the month since it was allowed by a court ruling. Cook County Clerk David Orr said Friday that the couples have come from 17 states besides Illinois and 11 Illinois counties outside Cook County. A state law legalizing same-sex marriage takes effect June 1. But a federal judge in Chicago ruled Feb. 21 that Illinois’ original ban was unconstitutional. Cook County started issuing the licenses the same day.
Along with Cook County, at least 6 other counties in the state are now issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. The rest are, apparently, waiting for June 2nd, the original date set by the law.
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LGBTQ Nation reports:
Two more counties say they will start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples before the state’s new marriage equality law takes effect on June 1. St. Clair County Clerk Tom Holbrook and Cass County Clerk Michael Kirchner say they will start accepting applications immediately. That’s after Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan advised that counties don’t have to wait until June. Madigan’s guidance was in response to a question about the scope of a federal court ruling that found Illinois’ original ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.
And one of our readers, Emily, reports:
“I called the Jackson County courthouse yesterday and the woman I spoke to said they were waiting on the software to be installed and “some documents from the State” (whatever that means); but they would be issuing same sex licenses as soon as these things were in place. I was happily surprised to hear this response from our small town filled county.”
So that’s six counties for sure, and maybe eight if you include Lake County (which is seeking further clarification from AG Madigan before proceeding) and Jackson County.
Map via US Census
Both Governor Quinn and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan have endorsed the Cook County ruling moving up the date for marriage equality in Illinois to now from June 1st. But will other counties follow suit?
LGBTQ Nation reports:
County clerks around Illinois say they won’t start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately as Attorney General Lisa Madigan said this week they have the right to do. Many worry that doing so before the new law takes effect in June could put their offices at risk of lawsuits and perhaps hurt the couples themselves. In interviews with about a dozen clerks, only one – Macon County Clerk Stephen Bean – said he would begin as soon as he has proper software installed for the forms that need to be filled out. Bean said the first marriage license might be issued as early as Friday. As for the others, they said they would not follow the lead of Cook and Champaign counties, which have already started issuing licenses, or McLean County, which will start March 24.
Clerks in the “collar counties” – those around Chicago, agreed.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
Officials in Chicago’s collar counties still plan to wait until June to begin granting same-sex marriage licenses, despite a statement this week from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan that the state’s current restriction on gay marriage is unconstitutional. If anything, some county clerks said, Madigan’s opinion has led to more confusion. “It’s putting the clerks, I would say, in a very precarious situation,” said McHenry County Clerk Katherine Schultz. “Let me tell you, the law says June 1. If (legislators) want it different, they need to get it changed.”… “Without a court order saying we should do it … any license could be challenged,” said Kane County Clerk John Cunningham, who questioned whether Madigan’s letter was politically motivated. “What authority do we have to issue them?”
Should Madigan have been more forceful in her opinion? So far, only four counties are issuing licenses or have indicated they will soon: Cook, Champaign, Macon and McLean. Lake County has also asked for clarification form the AG. All five counties are in northern or central Illinois.
Image via the US Census.
USA, Illinois: Attorney General Says All Counties Can Issue Marriage Licenses to Same Sex Couples NOWTuesday, March 4th, 2014
LGBTQ Nation reports:
Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Tuesday told an Illinois county clerk that he and others around the state have the right to immediately issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Madigan issued the guidance in response to a question from Macon County Clerk Stephen Bean, who questioned the legal effect of the ruling in Lee v. Orr on Feb. 21 by a federal judge in Chicago. Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman determined Illinois’ original ban was unconstitutional. A state law legalizing same-sex marriage takes effect June 1, but the ruling by the federal court means there’s nothing to stop couples from marrying now…
Madigan said county clerks should consult with their state’s attorneys, consider federal rulings on the issue and the cost and potential litigation in the event of a lawsuit challenging any denial. She said if requests for licenses are denied, “couples may opt to obtain their marriage licenses in Cook County to be married there, or they may file a lawsuit.” Gov. Pat Quinn, in a statement, said every county clerk in Illinois should quickly follow Madigan’s guidance.
Will all counties now start marrying same sex couples, or will there be some hold-outs?
LGBTQ Nation reports:
McLean County, Ill., Clerk Kathy Michael says she hopes to be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples by the middle of next week, months ahead of the June 1 date when Illinois’ marriage equality law is scheduled to take effect. The decision would make McLean the third county, and largest geographically in the state, to do so after a federal judge ruled same-sex couples in Cook County did not have to wait until the law takes effect this summer. “It’s legal, if there’s an illness, to be granted a marriage license of same-sex, now,” Michael, a Republican, told WGLT Public Radio. “Why would it be delayed till June First, when there are exceptions that are already being made?”
But a number of other counties are sticking to their guns:
More than half a dozen counties in central Illinois — Sangamon, Logan, Cass, Morgan, Macoupin, Montgomery and Christian — said they’d comply with the new law as written, reported the (Springfield) State Journal-Register.
But generally, confusion reigns as county clerks try to decide if they should follow state law and wait or follow the Cook County ruling.
Counties across Illinois are treating same-sex couples differently, the result of confusion over a court ruling last week that led to same-sex couples being able to marry immediately in Cook County but did not directly apply elsewhere — and state officials’ silence on the legal implications of the Cook County decision. The lack of statewide guidance on the issue led one county clerk Thursday to seek direction from Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Her office, thus far, has not said whether counties in the state besides Cook County have the authority or are required to begin marrying same-sex couples now, months before the state’s marriage equality law is due to take effect.
I hope that Madigan will provide that advice soon, and open the door for all of Illinois.