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Another Illinois county will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

IllinoisAs 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 governor signed, a marriage equality law back in November. But because the law was passed in a veto session, it won’t take effect in the state until June of this year. Lawmakers reportedly had been considering legislation to ensure couples could marry sooner.

Now, the Champaign County Clerk has said that, while the district court’s order only applies to Cook County, he interprets the order to apply to all same-sex couples in Illinois, and so he will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in his county:

“On Friday, federal judge Sharon Johnson Coleman held that the Illinois statute banning marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional and violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The Illinois Attorney General and the Cook County Clerk were parties to the suit. The precise effect of the ruling on other Illinois counties is unclear. However, after consulting with State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, I have come to the conclusion that the rationale of the case applies to all citizens of Illinois and that Champaign County residents should have no fewer Constitutional rights than those in Cook County. Furthermore, given the ruling, denying a license to a same sex couple would provide no benefit to the County and would likely result in litigation at taxpayer expense.

“Therefore, effective immediately, the Champaign County Clerk’s office will issue marriage licenses to same sex applicants, in accordance with the 14th Amendment, and the Illinois and United States Constitutions.”

Equality Illinois notes that they are “working with more county clerks to help them step up.”


  • 1. Eric  |  February 27, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Champaign County used to be heavily rural Republican, or at least the districts were drawn that way. Back in my younger straighter days, I ran as a Republican for Champaign County Board. It's nice to see that we all come to our senses with time.

  • 2. griffcipp  |  February 27, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Also, it is home of the University of Illinois.

  • 3. D.Henderson-Rinehart  |  February 27, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    And McLean County (Bloomington-Normal) will be following suit next week, according to The Pantagraph.

  • 4. griffcipp  |  February 27, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Macon county, Decatur, may be next.

  • 5. grod  |  February 28, 2014 at 2:38 am

    Copy of Macon County Clerk's and State's AAG;s exchange of letters. AAG opposed expansion.

  • 6. griffcipp  |  February 28, 2014 at 4:30 am

    Thanks for the information about Macon County. I emailed Clerk Bean and asked him to begin issuing Marriage Licenses on the day Champaign County announced its policy.
    I should point out I was married on August 14, 2008 in California and will not marry
    in Illinois. On whatever date the law comes into effect, my marriage will be recognized in Illinois, my home state.

  • 7. grod  |  March 4, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Effective today IL AG & Gov ok all 105 counties issuing licenses !

  • 8. grod  |  March 4, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    IL AG's letter to county clerks shiftingview from opposed to in favor of clerks issuing licenses: .

  • 9. grod  |  March 5, 2014 at 6:13 am

    Ill Gov P. Quinn: IL Department of Heath will now accept all marriage licenses issued by any county clerk:

  • 10. grod  |  March 6, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Kane County won't license gay marriages before June .

  • 11. Seth From Maryland  |  February 27, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    [youtube iY80rutSWDQ youtube]

    one of the Tx couples finding out the news of the ruling,

  • 12. davep  |  February 27, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    That's awesome. Thanks, Seth!

  • 13. Rich  |  February 27, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    I just loved this. Thanks Seth.

  • 14. Seth From Maryland  |  February 27, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Texas files notice of appeal in marriage equality case:Texas Governor Rick Perry (Credit: John Gress / Reuters)
    Following in the footsteps of Republican lawmakers in Utah and Oklahoma, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General (and Republican gubernatorial candidate) Greg Abbott have filed a notice of appeal against a Wednesday court ruling declaring the state’s ban on marriage equality unconstitutional.

    As reported by the San Antonio Express-News, Perry and Abbott are named as defendants in the appeal asking for a preliminary injunction against the ruling.

    Perry announced his intent to appeal immediately following the Wednesday ruling. “Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens,” he said in a statement. “The 10th Amendment guarantees Texas voters the freedom to make these decisions, and this is yet another attempt to achieve via the courts what couldn’t be achieved at the ballot box. We will continue to fight for the rights of Texans to self-determine the laws of our state.”

    U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia declared Texas’ ban on equal marriage and the state’s refusal to recognize the unions of gay couples married in other states to be unconstitutional. In his ruling, Garcia argued that both bans violate the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment.

  • 15. Ragavendran  |  February 27, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    That was fast!

  • 16. davep  |  February 27, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    “Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens”….

    It sure as hell IS the role of the federal government. Every time the citizens or the legislature enacts an unconstitutional law. That's the whole reason we have a Supreme Court in the first place! Perry is an ass hat, pandering to his bigoted base by spreading inflammatory rhetoric like that. If he worked in any field other than politics he would be fired for such irresponsible and reckless lying.

  • 17. Rick O.  |  February 27, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    "The courts" – well Perry finally remembered the third government entity he wants to abolish that he couldn't recall at the primary debate.

  • 18. Zack12  |  February 27, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    There's a reason a federal constitution trumps all state ones, the founding fathers knew that while states should have automony in many things, there would be times where certain things shouldn't be left up to them, like minority rights.
    If Perry's theory was allowed to happen, Texas would still have segregation, bans on interracial marriages and sodomy laws among other things.

  • 19. D.Henderson-Rinehart  |  February 27, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Actually, until the 14th Amendment came along, segregation, miscegenation bans, sexual morality laws, and so on would all be legal. Before that, states had a LOT more authority over the personal lives of the citizens, residents, and visitors than they do now, because the restrictions in the Fifth Amendment only applied to the federal government.

    So it wasn't the country's founders who set that up; it was the Lincoln-era government.

  • 20. StraightDave  |  February 27, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Yes, and done in response to total abuse by the states and disregard of US Constitutional principles. We had to actually write it down in ink for them to take it seriously….and fight a dreadful war. As you can see, some of them still don't like it.

  • 21. Stefan  |  March 4, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Grundy County becomes the third Illinois county to issue marriage licenses:

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  • 27. Equality On TrialIllinois&hellip  |  August 7, 2014 at 12:37 am

    […] law doesn’t go into effect until June of this year. The Champaign County Clerk has also decided to start issuing […]

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