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Illinois Same-Sex Couples Dealing with Life-Threatening Illnesses Can Marry Early

By Jeffrey Knipmeyer on December 31, 2013

According to a report by Chicago Sun-Times.com, Illinois gay couples facing a life-threatening illness now can marry before June thanks to U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman, who recently ordered a county clerk to start giving marriage licenses to couples that met the criteria.

In November, Illinois legalized gay marriage, becoming the 16th state in the U.S. to do so. However, couples could not attain licenses until June 1, 2014. Then a suit was brought against Cook County Clerk David Orr by two Chicago same-sex couples demanding the issuance of marriage licenses to those who may not make it through the coming year.

Due to Coleman’s ruling, couples may get married right away as long as they can provide proof of a partner’s life-threatening illness, such as a doctor’s note.

Coleman wrote, “This Court can conceive of no reason why the public interest would be disserved by allowing a few couples facing terminal illness to wed a few months earlier than the timeline would currently allow.”

A same-sex couple with one partner facing inoperable brain tumors and breast cancer was wedded in November after they requested an expedited license from a federal judge. At the time of the report, three other qualifying same-sex couples in Cook County had been granted the same opportunity.

This past year has been a successful one for advocates of marriage equality. Jeffrey Knipmeyer and his associates at the Chicago civil unions law firm of Nottage and Ward have stood behind the gay and lesbian community all the way and are excited about the recent developments in Illinois and beyond. We hope there is more to come.

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