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blog home Civil Unions Illinois Same-Sex Couples Move Forward with Lawsuit against State’s Discriminatory Marriage Law

Illinois Same-Sex Couples Move Forward with Lawsuit against State’s Discriminatory Marriage Law

By Nottage and Ward on July 27, 2012

Twenty-five Illinois same-sex couples are named as plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against the Clerk of Cook County at the end of May by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois and Lambda Legal. According to Examiner.com, the lawsuit claims that the County’s refusal to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples is in violation of the due process and equal protection clauses of the state’s Constitution. This suit was filed after a judge allowed Cook County to defend the marriage law they used to justify refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The marriage law in question was established in 1996, the same year the federal government established the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Both of these define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, thus discriminating against same-sex couples. Though more and more states are taking the next step to legalize gay marriage, ultimate equality cannot be achieved until the DOMA obstacle is overcome as well. With President Obama’s public support of gay marriage, this may be on the horizon.

Some of the same-sex plaintiffs appeared as part of an ACLU- and Lambda Legal-sponsored presentation to demonstrate the human side of the gay marriage debate. One of the key points of this presentation was made in answer to the moderator’s opening question of why same-sex couples are pursuing the right to marry. The answer was “For our children,” for equal rights, and for each other.

Civil unions are a good first step, but without the legalization of same-sex marriage, equality will never be reached. Until such a change occurs, the civil union lawyers in Chicago at Nottage and Ward are committed to helping Illinois couples navigate the complexities of civil union law. For a consultation, call us at (312) 332-2915.

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