USA, Illinois: Will Counties Follow Governor, Attorney General’s Lead on Marriage Equality?

Written by scott on March 6th, 2014
Illinois Counties

Five Counties Issuing or Considering Issuing Licenses Now

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.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Illinois.

Image via the US Census.


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Emily says:

    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.

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