Thursday, March 6, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage Comes Early to Illinois

Posted By on Thu, Mar 6, 2014 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge Same-sex couples can apply for marriage licenses months ahead of schedule. - PURPLE SHERBET PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Purple Sherbet Photography
  • Same-sex couples can apply for marriage licenses months ahead of schedule.

Madison and St. Clair counties, both just across the river from St. Louis, are allowing same-sex couples to marry three months ahead of schedule.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan encouraged Illinois counties to skip waiting until June 1 and start granting same-sex marriage licenses immediately after a federal-court ruling last month allowed gay couples to marry in Cook County, which includes Chicago.

See also: 6 Questions (And Answers) About Illinois' New Same-Sex Marriage Law

"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 stated in the ruling.

Promo Missouri, the statewide LGBT advocacy group, called the county offices throughout Illinois to find out where couples could apply for marriage licenses. St. Clair and Madison counties, both neighbors to St. Louis, told the group they are allowing same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses.

click to enlarge Here are the counties allowing same-sex marriage before June 1. - PROMO MISSOURI
  • Promo Missouri
  • Here are the counties allowing same-sex marriage before June 1.

The state attorney's office still has to approve the licenses, which could take a week in St. Clair County. Monroe County officials told KSDK (Channel 5) they are still adjusting the computer program and didn't have a date set for when they'll start issuing licenses.

Illinois governor Pat Quinn applauded the decision to encourage counties to allow same-sex marriage early.

"Nobody should have to wait for equal rights when it comes to love," Quinn says. Illinois became the sixteenth state to allow gay marriage in November.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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