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Arguments heard in motion to dismiss Illinois marriage challenge

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Yesterday, arguments were heard in an attempt to dismiss a challenge filed by Lambda Legal and the ACLU to Illinois’ ban on marriage equality. If the motion to dismiss is granted, it would mean the entire case is dismissed without the judge hearing any evidence. The Windy City Times summarized the arguments:

According to Linton, the state has a compelling interest in promoting relationships that result in “responsible procreation.” He dismissed the observation that infertile men and women can still marry by saying that the idea can be “subject to exception, but that exception does not negate it.” He added the state has a responsibility to promote the idea of stable, mother-father households.

“This is a common sense view by society,” Linton said.

Camilla Taylor, marriage project director of Lambda Legal, said that the defendants are basing their arguments on assertions outside the original complaint and incorrectly grasping the ideas behind the law. She pointed out, for example, that a study the defendants utilized to undermine the idea of same-sex parents had been discredited by the journal it had appeared in.

Children living with two same-sex parents is an idea “beyond scientific dispute,” she said. “We must accept as consensus that kids with same-sex parents do just fine.”

Lambda Legal also noted that the recent Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor adds additional weight to their side of the argument: the justifications used to defend Section 3 of DOMA were similar to the ones used to defend the Illinois ban.

After the arguments concluded, Lambda Legal’s Marriage Project Director, Camilla Taylor, released a statement:

“Today we urged the court to ensure that same-sex couples and their families get their day in court. We put forward the severe harms experienced by the 25 plaintiff couples and the thousands of same-sex couples and their children in Illinois every day because their government marks them as unequal. The recent Supreme Court ruling striking down DOMA has made the freedom to marry even more urgent in Illinois than it was before because Illinois now stands between these families and a host of federal protections, benefits, rights and responsibilities. Civil unions do not fully access the federal safety net that marriage provides, and Illinois families can’t wait any longer.”

A decision on the motion to dismiss is expected September 27.

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