Following the lead of Champaign and Cook counties, a third Illinois county plans to start issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
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.
Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Illinois.