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Breaking: Illinois court rules that same-sex couples do not have to wait to wed

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Illinois state sealExciting news out of Illinois: a federal judge has ruled that same-sex couples in Cook County do not have to wait until June, when the state’s marriage equality law is scheduled to go into effect, to wed, and instead must be allowed to do so immediately.  The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

Same-sex couples don’t have to wait until June to get married in Cook County under a federal judge’s ruling issued Friday.

“There is no reason to delay further when no opposition has been presented to this Court and committed gay and lesbian couples have already suffered from the denial of their fundamental right to marry,” U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman said in her ruling.

Cook County Clerk David Orr said his office will issue licenses immediately and couples can get married as soon as Saturday.

Today’s ruling only applies to Cook County–where Chicago is located–but LGBT advocates in the state hope that other county clerks will follow Orr’s lead and allow same-sex couples to wed.

In December, Judge Coleman ordered Illinois to allow same-sex couples in which one individual faces terminal illnesses to wed ahead of the law’s June 2014 effective date.

In a press release, Lambda Legal applauded the judge’s decision and noted her decision’s citation of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King:

“The wait is over! We are thrilled that the court recognized the unfairness of forcing same-sex couples to wait for months to marry,” said Christopher Clark, Counsel for Lambda Legal. “Justice has prevailed and full equality is no longer delayed for Illinoisans who wish to marry in Cook County before June 1st.”
In her decision today, Judge Coleman noted that the question before her was “why should we wait.”   She cited the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King who noted that “the time is always ripe to do right.”

You can read the judge’s order here.  Congratulations to all those who will be marrying in Cook County tomorrow!

UPDATE: 3:15 pm Eastern: BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner reports that LGBT advocates in Illinois believe the judge’s ruling applies statewide:

Lambda Legal Marriage Project National Director Camilla Taylor told BuzzFeed that the fact that the Illinois ruling Friday was a facial ruling — meaning the judge determined the law was unconstitutional in all circumstances — means that it is applicable statewide.

For more information on Lee v. Orr from The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, click here.


  • 1. davep  |  February 21, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Excellent!! : )

  • 2. Matt  |  February 21, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Woot woot!!!

  • 3. grod  |  February 21, 2014 at 11:46 am

    The decision:

  • 4. Eric Koszyk  |  February 21, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Are marriage licenses from Cook County valid throughout the whole state?

    If my partner and I was from Southern IL could we drive up to Chicago, get a license and then have it be legal back in the county in which we reside?

  • 5. Kevin  |  February 21, 2014 at 12:12 pm


  • 6. Eric Koszyk  |  February 21, 2014 at 12:22 pm


  • 7. sfbob  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    It appears that in Illinois you have to marry in the county where the marriage license was issued. But the marriage would be valid anywhere in the state (otherwise you'd have to get married again if you moved from one county to another).

  • 8. sfbob  |  February 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    It's a good question. The judge certainly seems to be treating sexual orientation as a suspect class. And taking it as a given that bans on marriage equality constitute a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, without even any need to make a specific argument. That's a win all the way around.

    Based on this ruling, I wonder if Illinois residents in other counties could petition the court for the immediate right to marry where they live, rather than having to travel to Cook County, citing Judge Coleman's decision in support of their motion.

    The update to the article notes that both the IL ACLU and Lambda Legal are suggesting that regardless of the stated limitation in Judge Coleman's ruling, it should apply statewide. After all, why would the outgoing law be unconstitutional in Cook County but constitutional everywhere else?

  • 9. Bruno71  |  February 21, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Seems to me all county clerks in Illinois would be wise to just follow the ruling here. What's the point in fighting it anyway if the question is moot by June 1st?

  • 10. Mike in Baltimore  |  February 21, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    According to web site US Marriage Laws, specifically Illinois (
    "A license issued in Cook County CANNOT be used in any other county or state." [Emphasis in original.]

    The site also says "State and county marriage license requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice.

    "It is important that you verify all information with your local marriage license office or county clerk before making any wedding or travel plans." [IMO – a competent attorney would probably be better than non-attorneys discussing legal points.]

    Based on the judge's ruling, possibly (". . . this finding can only apply to Cook County based on the posture of the lawsuit." [in other words, somewhat similar to the results of the Windsor suit, which knocked out Section 3 of DOMA, but the suit did not involve Section 2, so SCOTUS left Section 2 intact, if only temporarily] and "Accordingly, the provision of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriages Act and 750 ILCS 5/213.1 violate the Equal Protection Clause by discrimination of the bases against individuals based on their sexual orientation.“)

    Based on existing Illinois law (those parts apparently not addressed in the ruling), maybe not.

  • 11. Matt  |  February 21, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I wonder if the governor might issue an executive order instructing all county clerks to immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, based on this ruling?

  • 12. grod  |  February 22, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Matt, 46 couples came to the Daley Center to get a marriage license by 7 p.m. closing February 21. There's a 24 hour waiting time to be married. I would suggest that the AG Lisa Madigan advise the Governor on the need for uniformity across the state. .

  • 13. grod  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Greg Gale, 62 and Chris Ferguson, 61; among the first to get a license were among the first in Cook County Ill to marry. The demand for licenses there was usual for a Saturday.

  • 14. grod  |  February 24, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Governor Quinn urges state-wide implementation of Cook County decision: Can he not do more?

  • 15. sfbob  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    That seems really weird. Of course marriage laws do vary from state to state but it does seem a bit odd that a license issued in one county wouldn't be valid for marriage in any county within the state. Think of what a mess that would make if you applied it to drivers' licenses.

    For some reason the link you provided isn't working for me; I just get an error message. Had to go directly to the site instead. Yeah, it does say that. I wonder why that would be the case though.

  • 16. Eric  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    It may be referring to the ceremony itself. A Cook county license isn't valid for a Champaign County ceremony.

  • 17. sfbob  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    In many states, you can get your marriage license in one county and get married in another county. But I guess not in Illinois.

  • 18. Mike in Baltimore  |  February 21, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    In the state of Maryland, marriage licenses are handled by the clerk of the circuit court in the county where a couple intends to be married. Each county (and the City of Baltimore) has a circuit court.

    A few years ago, the municipality of Takoma Park, Maryland, was split (and had been for several decades) between two counties (Montgomery [locally known as MoCo] and Prince George's [locally known as PG]). As you can imagine, the situation caused lots of confusion.

    The issue was settled at an election, with the PG portion being 'moved' to MoCo, and in the process moving the county line to incorporate the entire municipality. Clerks in both counties took special note of when and where the wedding would take place (in which county, and before or after the county line moved).

    The link above probably doesn't work, because the final ')' gets included when trying to click the link, but it is not part of the link. Also, the site now includes '/marriage_licenses' as part of the link (a change from when I posted (at least attempted to post) the original link. I tried it again – hopefully this works:

  • 19. Lymis  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    The same is true in most places. You have to file the completed certificate in the same county that issued it. So getting a license in Cook County means you have to have the ceremony and then return the completed certificate, signed by both parties, the witnesses, and the officiant, with the county that issued it.

    The marriage will still be recognized statewide. It's possible, but unlikely (seems to me, not a lawyer), that at worst, the marriage will be recognized in other counties as a civil union until June and as marriage after that for state purposes and as a marriage immediately for federal purposes, but with a very few exceptions, a civil union gets all the benefits of marriage in Illinois.

  • 20. bayareajohn  |  February 23, 2014 at 11:21 am

    FWIW California licenses must be re-filed in the same county where it was applied for, after the ceremony which can be anywhere in the state.

  • 21. Warren  |  February 21, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Justice delay is Justice denied! There was no reational reason for the delay for six months.

  • 22. Warren  |  February 21, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Justice delay is Justice denied. There is no rational reason to delay same gender marriage for six months.

  • 23. Eric  |  February 21, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Rational reason or not, the denial of a fundamental right is an impermissible harm for any amount of time.

  • 24. grod  |  February 21, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Is Judge Coleman treating sexual orientation as belonging to the same class as race and religion? Like all other cases since Windsor she considers the question before her being "Are individuals being deprived a fundamental right?":
    “This Court has not trepidation that marriage is a fundamental right to be equally enjoyed by all individuals of consenting age regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation and the public policy of this state had been duly amended to reflect that position. ….. Although this Court finds that the marriage ban for same sex couples violates the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Ban on its face, this finding can only apply to Cook County based on the posture of the lawsuit. …. Accordingly, the provision of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriages Act and 750 ILCS 5/213.1 violate the Equal Protection Clause by discrimination of the bases against individuals based on their sexual orientation. “

  • 25. Lymis  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    If what I've read elsewhere applies, no to your first question. By SCOTUS precedent, strict scrutiny applies any time a fundamental right is burdened, no matter what class of people it applies to, so by identifying marriage as a fundamental right, (and that this is the same sort of marriage as opposite sex marriage, not some new special different kind of same-sex marriage), she can apply strict scrutiny without declaring us a suspect class.

    Sounds like she considers us one, but didn't go quite so far as declaring it.

  • 26. Sagesse  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:16 am

    She may be making a very, very, very subtle distinction. Perhaps, when the legislature granted LGBT couples the right to marry, it granted them access to the fundamental right, just not right away. Perhaps she was saying, if it's their fundamental right, they shouldn't have to wait until June. Gets around saying 'marriage equality is an absolute fundamental right'.

  • 27. Rev. Will Fisher  |  February 21, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Totally off topic: anyone notice that in Ice Hockey, the roughest, most macho sport at Sochi, the two countries in the men's final are both places where SSM is fully legal (Canada vs Sweden). Contrast that with Russia who missed the medal round despite their home ice advantage. Reminds me of the World Cup Soccer Finals in 2010.

  • 28. Keith  |  February 21, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks 🙂

  • 29. grod  |  February 21, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Will, you are referring to men's hockey; in women hockey Canada took gold, USA – silver. And you missed mentioning that that USA men will play Finland tomorrow for the bronze. Both countries are in the process of achieving ME. Indeed on Feb 20, a marriage equality bill was debated in the Finish parliament and sent to the Legal Affairs Committee. But to suggest a relationship between hockey playing and marriage is a reach of the kind made by NOM – spurious.

  • 30. Rev. Will Fisher  |  February 24, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Of course it's spurious. I mentioned it only because there is a line of thinking on the other side that argues marriage equality and other gay rights makes society, um, lack in manly vigor. Men's hockey was a chance for Russia, in front of their home fans and in a sport they're passionate about, to showcase their manly vigor. Instead they got smacked down hard. I guess I should have posted that on NOM's FB page.

  • 31. Jim  |  February 21, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Cook County, with a 2012 population of 5.231 million per the Census Bureau, is home to 41% of the Illinois state population (12.9 million).

    If Cook County were a state, it would rank No. 23 among the states, behind Colorado and ahead of Alabama.

    The arrival of marriage in Cook County (including Chicago) means that marriage equality is now in place in the nation's three largest cities (NYC, LA, Chicago).

  • 32. Pat  |  February 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    How is it possible that a federal district judge ruling could apply to a single county?? I saw the update saying that people now assume that it would apply to the whole state, but why could it possibly be otherwise?

  • 33. Lymis  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Because the lawsuit only named David Orr, the Cook County clerk – that's what she said, though the logic of the ruling applies to the whole state, the case in front of her only applied to Cook. She didn't say it doesn't apply elsewhere, only that SHE couldn't apply it via this case.

    There won't be an appeal, and other clerks or state officials could probably use this to implement it elsewhere immediately, but she can't order it.

  • 34. Sean  |  February 22, 2014 at 8:59 am

    It seems that if the Federal judge ruled that the STATE ban was unconstitutional, the ruling would apply immediately statewide, regardless that the lawsuit was brought about in Cook County. The other clerks should follow through

  • 35. Ragavendran  |  February 22, 2014 at 9:21 am

    This is similar to what would happen if the 9th Circuit were to strike down Nevada's ban. Technically, the Court can only do so for Nevada and cannot directly strike down bans in other states, but, if broad language is used and the same reasoning would apply to other states, then the Governors and Attorneys General of the remaining states should recognize that and stop enforcing their bans. If they don't, then a quick lawsuit filed in an appropriate district court would resolve the issue.

    Similarly, in this case, the judge's hands are tied due to the scope of the lawsuit, as Lymis points out above. She has the authority only to order Cook County as far as this case is concerned. Other Counties should recognize that her reasoning applies to them too, and start issuing licenses. (The Governor has expressed hope that they will, though that was through Twitter, and not a formal statement.) If they won't, then anyone can challenge another county in a quick lawsuit. (Note that the definition of "quick" varies and it might well be June by the time such a lawsuit is wrapped up.)

  • 36. Ragavendran  |  February 22, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Pat, I'm not a lawyer, but as I understand it, a Court cannot directly order anyone that is not a party to the case. See my reply to Lymis's comment above.

  • 37. Pat  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks and interesting.
    That would mean that, if this was happening in an extreme right-wing state full of bigots, couples might have to file a lawsuit in every single county!? Geeez

  • 38. Lymis  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    In an extremely right-wing state, likely the suit would have named statewide defendants, or been set up as a class action suit. Since Illinois already recognizes out of state marriages as civil unions, grants all state benefits to civil unions, has a legal ruling that people who can't wait until June get preferential treatment (cases like a terminal illness), and everyone gets marriage June 1, there's a little less legal urgency.

    Not that that's an excuse, but it's a fact.

  • 39. Pat  |  February 21, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    A few months back, some Illinois legislators planned to introduce a bill in order to move the marriage equality date sooner. Now the issue is probably irrelevant, but I am surprised we hadn't heard any action about that? Does anybody know if they had given up trying to move up the date?

  • 40. Eric  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    It was all talk. They knew the courts would not allow a legal argument of "Yes, we recognize your fundamental rights, but not for six more months." Fundamental rights don't work that way.

  • 41. KarlS  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Er, "all talk" by whom? And who are 'they' in your post? I'm really confused by what you wrote…who would have been making that "Yes, but…" argument?

  • 42. Eric  |  February 21, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    I was referring to the legislature, the same they as the previous poster was referring to.

  • 43. Sean from NJ  |  February 21, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Well it's an election year so you know how that goes……….

  • 44. Pat  |  February 22, 2014 at 12:09 am

    No, i was referring to pro-equality lawmakers who also thought it was silly to force same-sex couples to wait so many months for procedural reasons. So a solution proposed was that they would introduce a bill at the beginning if the new session (which started in january or february) to make marriage ewuality legal earlier. Did they give up?

  • 45. Sean from NJ  |  February 22, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Like I said, it's an election year. Do you really think that Democrats in southern IL want to remind their constinuents of how they voted on this issue last year now?

  • 46. KarlS  |  February 21, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    To reiterate, I'm not a lawyer (a fact I have gleefully reminded myself of many many times!…not that I have anything against them in general), so it's impossible for me to grasp how this ruling could NOT be valid in the whole state. I guess it's one of those "straining at gnats" things…

  • 47. Eric  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    My non-lawyer answer is that by limiting the challenge to one county, anti-gay parties could not intervene and drag this out. Now that one county is recognizing SSM, it is very difficult for other counties to argue against it.

  • 48. Lymis  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    My non-lawyer answer is similar – she says that her analysis applies statewide but that she can only actually rule on the case in front of her. I assume other counties will follow nearly immediately.

  • 49. Jake  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Just got ours!!! Hopefully it'll extend to include all of Illinois ASAP!

  • 50. sfbob  |  February 21, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Mazel tov! Hope you guys have a long and happy marriage.

  • 51. Chris M.  |  February 21, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Off topic, but it makes my eyes roll: the latest intellectual diarrhea from Regnerus: Gay marriage leads to more heterosexual anal sex! And that's the end of civilization, as we know it…

    Speaking about Regenrus, does anyone know where we stand with the Daubert motion to disqualify him as an expert witness in the Deboer trial?

  • 52. sfbob  |  February 21, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    That's about the dumbest argument I've ever read. I think there were a few comments about it here a couple of days ago. Doesn't appear to be any word on the Daubert motion in the DeBoer trial but I hope our side brings up Regnerus' latest ravings as part of the challenge to his "expert witness" qualification.

  • 53. Bruno71  |  February 21, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    I'm almost wondering if he'd end up being a help to us on the stand, like that one guy (I've already forgotten him…total loon that took the stand for the defense) from the prop 8 case.

  • 54. KarlS  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Blankenhorn maybe? I believe he actually "switched" sides (or at least opinions) afterward…

  • 55. Straight Dave  |  February 22, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    No I think it was William Tam, who was really just a hapless stooge. As I recall, the defense decided not to put him on the stand after his fairly demented deposition for fear of embarrassing their side. So David Boies called him as a plaintiff witness for exactly the same reason. And I think it worked!

  • 56. Deeelaaach  |  February 21, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    <trying to keep a straight face>

    This is exactly the sort of thing we hear real scientists and researchers say all the time!

    <can't hold the straight face and breaks up laughing>

  • 57. Pat  |  February 22, 2014 at 12:13 am

    Im wondering about that too. How does it work? It there first a closed-door hearing where judges are presented with arguments on whether to consider Regnerus? And then the full trial proceeds with or without him?

  • 58. Sagesse  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:27 am

    The logical thing, since a separate hearing hasn't been scheduled, would be to hear the Daubert motion immediately before Regnerus is to testify. If he is disqualified, he doesn't get to speak. And the trashing of his credibility becomes part of the trial record.

    P.S. I do hope someone brings up his latest comments about the harmful impact of accepting LGBT people on heterosexual behaviour.

  • 59. Zack12  |  February 22, 2014 at 11:37 am

    If they don't, it will be an epic fail. Those statements clearly show he was NOT approaching his study with an open mind but rather prejudice.

  • 60. Lymis  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    People picked up on the anal sex issue, but he also claimed that gay marriage will lead to more heterosexual open marriages – gays can't keep it in their pants, so straight men, who will suddenly become envious of gay men in ways they weren't before, will pressure their wives to allow them to have flings, which of course, all straight women, the virtuous but pliant creatures that they are, will hate, but go along with.

    Who precisely these straight married men are going to have the flings with is unclear, since apparently it won't be with married woman, or with virgins.

  • 61. bythesea  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Most heterosexuals in open relationships tend to be extremely private about it, so it would be hard to track, but loooooooooong predates civil same-sex marriage in any case.

  • 62. bayareajohn  |  February 22, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    So laughably reasoned… Gays have everything straights (says Regnerous) ever wanted, and making things even better for them will just be too much, the poor straights can already barely be contained now, Says Regnerous, Saying a lot about what he has obviously spent a lot of time thinking about: "Those damn, lucky, free sex gays. Damn them for the lifestyle I can't allow myself to have… gotta stop 'em."

  • 63. SoCal_Dave  |  February 23, 2014 at 7:38 am

    To add another layer of ridiculousness, apparently straight people will only become aware of gays having anal sex if they are allowed to marry.
    And gays seeking marriage, which is typically associated with monogamy (I know, not always) is what will set off straights to want open relationships.
    It's bizzarro world.

  • 64. JimT  |  February 23, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Regnerous is rehashing some old rhetoric that another infamous Austinite used during the early 90s. An anti-gay pastor named Mark Weaver was trying to stop the nude sunbathing at Austin's gay nude beach, Hippie Hollow, which was shared by a small number of hetero men and women as well. Weaver claimed all the gays were having anal/oral sex in plain view of everyone (they were not). I remember Weaver saying that seeing gays naked and having sex at Hippie Hollow would make straight guys force their wives into anal/oral sex and the straight men would start wanting to have gay sex then spread aids to women. In the end Mark Weaver lost that battle but for a while it played well on the ignorant and uneducated.

  • 65. Sagesse  |  February 22, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Regnerus and his colleagues are getting some high profile attention in the lead up to next week's trial, and it's none too flattering.

    Opponents of Same-Sex Marriage Take Bad-for-Children Argument to Court [New York Times]

    In considering the Regnerus-and-his-ilk line of argument, it is worth remembering that the Michigan case was originally about second parent adoption rights, and only later was broadened to include marriage rights at the judge's suggestion. From an earlier NYT article about the case: "April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse of Hazel Park, Mich., contended that the state laws prevented them from adopting children together, although they were raising three young children together as a family. Ms. Rowse adopted their two boys, and Ms. DeBoer their girl."

    Sooooo… in a logic fail of some magnitude… if the Regnerus argument prevails, state public policy can keep the plaintiffs from marrying, and can deny them second-parent adoption rights… but meanwhile it has permitted them to adopt, and would continue to allow them to raise, three children together. It's difficult to see how the state is going to make this argument without insulting the plaintiffs (and their children) to their faces in open court.

  • 66. Zack12  |  February 22, 2014 at 11:46 am

    I'm glad the lawsuit has sped things up so couples in some places in Illinois can get married now. I hope it speeds up equality for the whole state.
    I know people are frustrated with how everything went down in Illinois but the final vote tally made it clear there was never going to be the 71 votes needed during a regular session.
    Virtually all the Republicans were going to be no votes (no surprises there) and as the final vote showed, the bigoted Democrats like Mary Flowers (who was worse then any of the Republicans that day) were never, ever going to vote yes on this.
    It had to be done the way it was done, simple as that.

  • 67. grod  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Cook County is the second most populous county in the US after Los Angeles County, California. The county comprises 41 percent of all Illinois residents. There are 104 other counties. The next largest is 20% its population size.
    The significant is this ruling IMO is the 7th circuit (Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin) now have decision based on a violation of the USA 14th Amendment in relations to a fundamental right. In the 50 cases currently before the cases, it is another case to be cited, one not likely to be appealed or stayed. It is only three days from now that Kitchen et al need to file their response in to 10 Circuit. So not only a legislative decision but a court one.

    This Court has no trepidation that marriage is a fundamental right to be equally enjoyed by all individuals of consenting age regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation ….. …. Accordingly, the provision of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriages Act and 750 ILCS 5/213.1 violate the Equal Protection Clause by discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation. “

  • 68. bythesea  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Good point. I had forgotten IL is in the 7th Circuit.

  • 69. Seth From Maryland  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    we got a win in russia in the courts:A Russian journalist accused of violating the country's ban on so-called gay propaganda because she facilitated a social networking group for LGBT teens has been acquitted of all charges against her, reports PinkNews.

    Lena Kilmova serves as an administrator for the group Children-404 on Russian social networking site Vkontakte and on Facebook, where LGBT teens share first-person stories from what the page calls "the invisible victims of homophobia." Her role on the social networking site drew the attention of antigay St. Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, who filed a complaint contending that without groups like Children-404, "no kids like that would exist."

    But a Dzherskinskii district court ruling today agreed with Kilmova's attorney that Kilmova had not registered or launched the group, but rather was simply administrating it.

    In a strikingly sympathetic ruling, the judge declared that Children-404 had nothing to do with "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships," which have been illegal in Russia since the nationwide ban took effect last June.

    "This group is of great help for minors facing problems because of their sexual orientation and gender identity," the judge said, according to PinkNews.

    Kilmova's lawyer, an attorney who works with the Russian LGBT Network, said today's ruling proved the "incapacity and groundlessness of the so-called law about 'propaganda of homosexuality.'"

    "This law contradicts to some Russia’s international obligations and, as it was proved by the decision of the UN Human Rights Committee, consolidates discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and violates the freedom of speech," said Maria Kozlovskaya, according to PinkNews.

    The group gets its name from the internet protocol code when a webpage cannot be found, and has published more than 1,000 letters from LGBT teenagers since its March 2013 founding, according to the St. Petersburg-based Straight Alliance of LGBT Equality, which partners with Children-404.

    PinkNews notes that Kilmova was the fifth person charged with violating the ban on so-called gay propaganda. Three others have been found guilty, in addition to a Russian newspaper which reported a story about a geography teacher who said he lost his job for being gay.

  • 70. Seth From Maryland  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    this is probally the highest support poll i've ever seen for marriage equality:Ireland: New Poll Shows 76% Support Marriage Equality
    Written by scott on February 21st, 2014
    titleTruly amazing – a new poll shows an astonishing level of support for gay marriage in Ireland.

    Pink News reports:

    According to a recent Red C poll for Irish broadcasters RTE, 76% of people in the Irish Republic believe that marriages between same-sex couples should be legally recognized. The poll was published in the same week that Graham Norton slammed RTE for paying [euro]85,000 in damages to a Catholic anti-gay marriage group. Around 5% of voters were undecided on the issue and only 19% opposed the law reform.

  • 71. SPQRobin  |  February 23, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    In countries with the most support, such as the Netherlands or Sweden, polls are very rare, but public support could easily reach 80-85%. See e.g.

    As for Ireland however, it really is amazing how consistently high support is there for such a Catholic country.

  • 72. StraightDave  |  February 23, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    I've been told by Irish colleagues that the people there are so pissed about the priest scandals that they're just as happy sticking a finger in the church's eye. Many of them had their whole life wrapped up in the church and felt immensely let down. This is partly anger and payback, though there is also sincere openness and acceptance in society once they shed the RCC straightjacket. Other heavily Catholic countries like Spain, Portugal, and Argentina have their own local reasons for ME. Rome doesn't run everything anymore.

  • 73. ebohlman  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Additionally, Ireland's population is quite young and has also become fairly socially liberal. Also, the referendum is the result of the first recommendation from a commission created to propose changes to Ireland's constitution, in particular changes to reduce the influence of the RCC hierarchy on the country's government.

  • 74. Pat  |  February 23, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Just too bad they will have to wait for more than another year to vote on this issue. A referendum is planned in the first half of 2015.

  • 75. Zack12  |  February 23, 2014 at 3:03 am

    Several articles about gay marriage have made a valid point. Three of the Supreme Court Justices (counting Kennedy) who have made solid rulings on gay rights are 75 or older.
    There is a good chance that whomever the next president is, he or she will be picking the next few Supreme Court Justices.
    That is why 2016 will be another one of the most important elections of our life time. We do NOT want a Rand Paul or Ted Cruz or any Republican for that matter being able to shape the Supreme Court.
    Our rights will be set back if that happens, make no mistake about it. You won't be getting a moderate Republican picked, you will get one that makes Scalia look like a moderate.

  • 76. Sagesse  |  February 23, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Gay marriage group launches $1 million PR campaign across South [Washington Post]

    "Freedom to Marry, the national pro-gay marriage organization based in New York, will announce a new $1 million television ad campaign at a press conference Monday in Atlanta. The campaign, dubbed Southerners for the Freedom to Marry, will highlight prominent politicians and community leaders who back same-sex marriage."

  • 77. Ragavendran  |  February 23, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Looking forward to the Michigan trial beginning Tuesday:
    "In the event Friedman finds that Michigan has a reasonable basis for discriminating against same-sex couples, Friedman has told attorneys for both sides, the court will convene a second hearing to determine whether the state’s same-sex marriage ban deserves the heightened scrutiny reserved for statutes that disadvantage members of certain minorities."

  • 78. Ragavendran  |  February 23, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Another article reminds us that Judge Friedman has admitted to being "nervous" about this case. I'm not sure what that means for this case:

    (Note that the article claims this is the first time that scientific studies on same-sex parenting will come under legal scrutiny, which is incorrect. This will be the second time.)

  • 79. bythesea  |  February 23, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    I think he was nervous because at the time this was anticipated to potentially be The Case that winds up at SCOTUS. It still just might be, but there are other potential possibilities now.

  • 80. Pat  |  February 24, 2014 at 12:05 am

    I cant wait to see this trial start tomorrow. How much details and coverage can we expect to get? (will it even be public?) will it be like the recent Virginia case from which we only heard rough feedback from the lawyers?

  • 81. Ragavendran  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Good question. California's Prop 8 trial (January 2010) was set to be the first of its kind to be broadcast live and on YouTube under the then new experimental system developed by the 9th Circuit. However, two days before the trial, the intevenor-defendant,, filed an emergency petition with the US Supreme Court, which voted 8-1 in their favor to stay the broadcast for a couple of days. Then, they voted 5-4 to indefinitely block broadcasting the coverage live (though they didn't say anything about delayed broadcasting on YouTube).

    Given this precedent from the US Supreme Court, it is unlikely that this trial will be broadcast in any form. However, as the Wikipedia article above notes, "despite the ruling, the proceedings elicited unprecedented live coverage through social networking site Twitter from gay-interest magazine The Advocate, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, an official feed from the group representing the plaintiffs (AFER), a California-based progressive organization Courage Campaign (that's us!), and several independent parties including Chris Geidner, maintainer of the LGBT-oriented Law Dork blog, San Francisco-based attorney Chris Stoll, and others."

    So it is possible that we'd get extensive live coverage of the proceedings by other media, just not video or audio.

    Another thing I wonder about is how long until a ruling? In Prop 8, from trial to decision was 8 months. I hope it won't be that long here.

  • 82. davep  |  February 23, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    A bit of history was made in sports today. Openly gay basketball player Jason Collins has just been signed to the Brooklyn Nets:

  • 83. Wondering  |  February 23, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Why did the Illinois legislature put an effective date of June 2014 anyway?

  • 84. Lynn E  |  February 23, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    If I remember correctly, the laws passed in certain sessions have effective dates that are mandated. The effective date was not part of the legislation.

  • 85. sfbob  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Illinois Constitution, Article IV, Section 10:

    The General Assembly shall provide by law for a uniform
    effective date for laws passed prior to June 1 of a calendar
    year. The General Assembly may provide for a different
    effective date in any law passed prior to June 1. A bill
    passed after May 31 shall not become effective prior to June
    1 of the next calendar year unless the General Assembly by
    the vote of three-fifths of the members elected to each house
    provides for an earlier effective date.

    The law passed during a special session which took place in the fall. So the above rule applied to it.

  • 86. Ragavendran  |  February 24, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Republicans give up in Illinois. About time too!

  • 87. Bob  |  February 24, 2014 at 8:07 pm


    Will Illinois issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple from Wisconsin? I cannot find any evidence pro or con that this is actually occurring. Just a lot of theories and conflicting opinions. Actual reports would be preferred.

    I really appreciate this site. It is one of the most informed sites on the web that I've found. Thank you

    Thanks to everyone ahead of time for your insightful and thoughtful comments.

  • 88. sfbob  |  February 25, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Illinois law is clear that no couple from out of state can be married in Illinois if the marriage would be considered "void" in their state of residence.

  • 89. Bob  |  February 27, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    The "Marriage Rights in Illinois" PDF that is a part of this website states ,
    "Can I get married in Illinois if I am a resident of another state?
    Illinois law requires that individuals seeking to enter into a marriage must not be prohibited from entering into such marriages in their home jurisdictions. While many states have laws purporting to deny recognition of validly performed marriage between persons of the same sex, no state currently prohibits a person from entering into a same-sex marriage."

    Based on that I would say that same-sex marriage isn't void in Wisconsin but non-existent. There is no Stae of Wisconsin law that makes it illegal per se.

  • 90. sfbob  |  February 27, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Actually Wisconsin has a law which makes it a crime to attempt to marry in another state if you can't get married there. It's called a "marriage evasion law." Only Delaware has a similar law; the difference is that the penalty for violating the Delaware law is a $100 fine or 30 days in jail; the penalty in Wisconsin is substantially greater ($10,000 or 6 months in prison). That law is currently the subject of a legal challenge…

  • 91. Bob  |  February 28, 2014 at 10:08 am

    The Wisconsin law under challenge, attempting to marry in another state if you can't get married in Wisconsin, is essentially a non-issue but a technical one, as it is not being enforced and no one has any recollection of it ever being enforced. Though I sure some research would discover it's last usage. It's a risk for anyone admittedly getting married out of state but one hardly about to play out in the real world. It's on the books and unenforced and should be eliminated.

    Per the Champaign County Clerks office this morning (via phone) who stated that "We'll issue a marriage license to anyone who walks in the door." They stated they are following the Cook County interpretation of the law, which I assume would be doing the same thing. I was unable to locate a direct live voice phone number for the Cook County office in Daley Plaza but the Champaign County Clerk's office is (217) 384-3720.

    Looks like we're getting married in Illinois.

  • 92. mike  |  February 25, 2014 at 7:03 am

    so I live in southern,Il so can we get a license now? Saline county to be exact!! So much info. out there its all confusing!!!

  • 93. sfbob  |  February 25, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Until June 1, you can only get a marriage license in Cook County. State law requires that the marriage take place in the county that issued the marriage license. So you'd need to drive up, get the license, get married there (in the county clerk's office I guess), file the marriage certificate with whoever it is does those things in IL. But your marriage would be valid everywhere in IL and in any state that recognizes same-sex marriages. And you can have the wedding reception wherever you'd like to.

  • 94. ebohlman  |  February 25, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Note, though, that you'd need an overnight stay because marriage can't take place until a day after the license is issued.

  • 95. grod  |  February 25, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Mike Might you consider asking the Saline County clerk what you could do? If no one ask the clerks in the 104 other counties, it's not going to happen. The Governor has said the he favours a uniform practice across the state, but was leaving it in the hands of the local clerks.

  • 96. griffcipp  |  February 26, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Re: Marriage equality comes to Central Illinois

    Minutes ago, Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten became the second county clerk in Illinois to issue marriage licenses to all loving, committed couples. Equality Illinois is challenging other clerks throughout the state to do the same.

    Hulten made the decision in the wake of the ruling by U.S.District Court last week in Chicago that marriage equality is a fundamental right and denying immediate access to it is unconstitutional.

    Clerk Hulten recognized both the humanity of helping gay and lesbian couples to fulfill their dreams and the legal soundness of following the decision of a federal court that denying marriage licenses was unconstitutional

    As we saw in the immediate rush to the Cook County Clerk's marriage bureau after Friday's ruling, gay and lesbian couples are eager and ready to take the step that not only grants them and their family the legal benefits and rights of marriage but also bestows society's recognition that their love is equal.

    It is also significant that the licenses are now available in a Central Illinois county, which is within easy driving distance of not only Champaign-Urbana but also Peoria, Decatur, Springfield, Bloomington-Normal and Danville for couples and their families. While we were thrilled with Friday's ruling that applied to Cook County, this is a major step that instantly spreads marriage equality to another major region of the state. We are working with more county clerks to help them step up.

    The Champaign County Clerk's office is at 1776 E. Washington Street, Urbana, Illinois. The website is….

    With the swiftness of the developments, there are many questions about obtaining a marriage license in Illinois. The Equality Illinois guide "Marriage Rights in Illinois" helps answer them. It can be read and downloaded here:….

  • 97. Equality On TrialIllinois&hellip  |  August 7, 2014 at 12:33 am

    […] allowing county clerks to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples upon request. A federal judge had ruled that all same-sex couples in Cook County could marry, despite the fact that the state’s marriage […]

  • 98. Equality On TrialAnother &hellip  |  August 7, 2014 at 1:56 am

    […] EqualityOnTrial noted last week, a federal district court in Illinois allowed same-sex couples in Cook County to marry, without having to wait until June. The state legislature passed, and the […]

  • 99. FIBA World Cup 2014 Live &hellip  |  August 16, 2014 at 8:24 am

    FIBA World Cup 2014 Live Stream

    Equality On TrialBreaking: Illinois court rules that same-sex couples do not have to wait to wed » Equality On Trial

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