Springfield, IL -
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Friday lauded a federal judge's decision allowing gay and lesbian couples to immediately begin marrying in Cook County instead of waiting until June 1, the initial effective date of legislation allowing same-sex marriage in Illinois.
"Many couples in Illinois have waited long enough for marriage equality, and today's ruling means thousands of Illinois couples no longer have to wait," Quinn said in a released statement.
"Our law is a victory for equal rights in America, and shows that citizens and lawmakers can come together on issues of fairness and human rights.
"I applaud U.S. District Court Judge Sharon J. Coleman for her stance in recognizing that 'there is no reason to delay further' giving all couples the right to marry in Cook County.
"Every county across the state should enjoy the same freedom without having to wait until June."
Governor Quinn signed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act on Nov. 20
at the UIC Forum in Chicago in front of a crowd of thousands. The legislation made Illinois the 16th state in the nation to embrace full marriage equality.
The ruling issued Friday
by U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman 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.
Forty-six same-sex couples received marriage licenses on Feb 21, according to County Clerk David Orr.Related: Judge: Same-sex marriages don't have to wait in Cook County