illinois same sex civil union attorney - Chicago Illinois Family Law Blog
Illinois Same-Sex Couples Move Forward with Lawsuit against State’s Discriminatory Marriage Law
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.
Legalization of Gay Marriage on the Horizon in Illinois?
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.
President Obama Publicly Supports Gay Marriage
Marriage and divorce are hot topics, but why? The tradition of marriage has been around for centuries, but it was not until within the last decade that it has truly evolved in the United States. The rights of same-sex couples have been a topic of debate in various states across the nation, though the overall trend has been a positive one. Same-sex couples in many states, including Illinois, have been awarded the legal right to marry or enter into a civil union or domestic partnership. Equal rights have long been an issue for the gay community, but it seems that governments are finally listening and taking action. And now, President Barack Obama has publicly endorsed gay marriage, according to The New York Times.
Though the timing of President Obama’s announcement may have been rushed, making his decision to support the legalization of gay marriage was not. According to his advisors, the President had intended to define his position on the issue before September, when Democrats would nominate him for re-election. His position on gay marriage is not necessarily a surprise as he has demonstrated support for the gay community before, such as ending the ban on openly gay men and women in the military and disavowing the federal law which defines marriage as only between a man and woman, but the announcement is, nonetheless, politically, socially, and historically significant.
Complaint Leads to Change in Lake County Civil Union Policy
Many out-of-state couples come to Illinois to enter into a civil union. However, each county clerk has control over their own county’s policies regarding out-of-state civil union applicants. Recently, a complaint from an Indiana couple who were denied a civil union license in Lake County has encouraged the clerk’s office to make a policy change, according to The Daily Herald.
The Indiana residents had traveled to Lake County, where one of the women’s fathers lived, to enter into and hold a ceremony for their civil union, but because Indiana does not legally recognize civil unions, their application was denied. According to the Illinois civil union law, which took effect in June 2011, out-of-state lesbian, gay, or straight couples are allowed to obtain civil union licenses and hold ceremonies in Illinois only if the county clerk is satisfied that the applicants’ home state does not prohibit civil unions. Some county clerk’s offices require that applicants sign affidavits affirming that such a union is not prohibited in their home state, while others have other procedures.
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