Judge: Same-sex marriages don't have to wait in Cook County

Fri. February 21, 2014 11:24 AM by GoPride.com News Staff

gov. pat quinn signs marriage equality into law, nov. 2013

photo credit // chicagopride.com

Marriage equality immediate in Cook County after court ruling

Chicago, IL - Same-sex couples in Cook County don't have to wait until June to get married under a ruling issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman.

"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," Judge Coleman said in her ruling.

Today's decision, effective immediately, allows any same-sex couple in Illinois who meets the other requirements for marriage to apply for and be issued a license allowing them to marry in Cook County.

"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 also 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."

The ruling affects only marriages in Cook County. For more information about obtaining a marriage license, visit cookcountyclerk.org. Marriage licenses are valid from the day after issuance and for 60 days.

"Tens of thousands of Illinois couples have been waiting for a long time, some for decades, for their love, commitment and marriage to be recognized," Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov told ChicagoPride.com. "This day - and the opportunity to finally get married - could not have come sooner."

Update: The County Clerk's Office will be open an extra two hours Friday, Feb. 21 as gay and lesbian couples rush for marriage licenses as reported by Windy City Times

Update: Forty-six LGBT couples received marriage licenses on Feb 21, according to County Clerk David Orr.

In a statement, Cook County Clerk David Orr said, "I'm thrilled same-sex couples who want to get married won't have to wait any longer. We are very excited to celebrate this historic milestone with every loving couple from today onward."