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Legalization of Gay Marriage on the Horizon in Illinois?

By Nottage and Ward on July 16, 2012

Earlier this month, a judge ruled that two counties in Illinois could defend a 16-year-old state law that bans same-sex marriage, which gay marriage supporters hope will lead to the overturning of the law and, ultimately, the legalization of same-sex marriage, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Back in 1996, Illinois passed a law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Other states, as well as the federal government, have passed similar laws, much to criticism from the LGBT community, especially more recently as states have been moving away from such discriminatory laws. Recently, in Illinois, Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against a Cook County Clerk after his office used the 1996 law to justify refusing to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages and refusing to marry gay couples.

A hearing on September 27, 2012 will decide on a motion from two county clerks to dismiss the case. The Cook County State’s Attorney and the Attorney General both declined to defend the ban on gay marriage. It is too early yet to tell how the hearing will play out; however, if what happened in Iowa is any indication, Illinois may decide to throw out the law that limits marriage only between a man and a woman.

As knowledgeable civil union lawyers in Chicago at Nottage and Ward, we have seen many changes in state laws regarding same-sex unions. But ultimately, the civil union law will never be considered a marriage, which means that additional change will be necessary for true equality. Until then, if you are concerned about how the Illinois civil union law affects you, please contact us at (312) 332-2915 for a consultation today.

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