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Same-Sex Marriage in Illinois

Posted on in Family Law

marriage license, Illinois, same sex marriage, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, new law, Illinois lawThe issue of same-sex marriage has been a frequent topic in the news in recent years. Both federal courts and state courts have made decisions regarding its legality over the last few years, with several states, including Illinois, deciding to make gay marriage legal and issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Now, it is suggested that Illinois may start issuing marriage licenses sooner than expected.

Counties in Illinois Issuing Same-sex Marriage Licenses

This week, Champaign County in Illinois started to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The decision to do so came after a federal judge in Cook County ruled that same-sex couples in that county did not have to wait until this summer to obtain a marriage license, when the new gay marriage law will take effect in the state of Illinois. Cook County was the first county to issue such licenses, and now McLean County is set to follow suit next week, making it the third county in the state to make the same decision.

The applicable federal court ruling came after a resident of Cook County filed suit against the county’s clerk. Although the ruling only applied to Cook County, the judge’s opinion stated that Illinois’ ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. Other counties are also using that reasoning to issue marriage licenses to gay couples without the need for additional legal action. Part of the reasoning for doing so is that if the state statute is considered unconstitutional in Cook County, then the same must be true for other counties in Illinois as well.

A Victory for Advocates

Advocates for gay marriage were especially happy with the county’s decision to issue marriage licenses immediately. They are taking the stance that same-sex couples are eager to obtain equality and rights under the law. They are also urging other county clerks to follow the trend and agree to issue same-sex marriage licenses before this summer.

Not All Counties Will Follow Suit

A number of counties, however, have already announced that they are planning to wait until the law goes into effect on June 1st before changing their policies on marriage licenses for same-sex couples. While some notable public figures (such as Governor Quinn) publicly supported the new legislation, other conservative and religious leaders in Illinois voiced their opposition against lifting the ban.

According to the article, some same-sex couples were able to obtain expedited marriage licenses late last year under special circumstances. Most couples who were able to do so had the licenses granted because of one partner’s terminal illness.

With the issue of gay marriage essentially decided in Illinois, same-sex couples will have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples who decide to marry. Areas of the law such as divorce, child support and custody, and estate planning will be especially relevant to same-sex couples in their new legal status.

The experienced family law attorneys at Davi Law Group work hard to protect each client’s interests. We serve clients in Chicago, Wheaton, and Warrenville, Illinois. If you have a concern about your rights as a spouse or parent, do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

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