Illinois judge consolidates lawsuits that challenge same-sex marriage ban
Challenges build in the state where civil unions are legal, same-sex marriage is not
June 22, 2012 | 12:25 pm
(Updated: February 22, 2013 | 5:42 pm)
A Cook County judge agreed on Thursday to consolidate lawsuits that claim the Illinois ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The lawsuits were filed separately against Cook County Clerk David Orr by the ACLU of Illinois and Lambda Legal, but have been combined into one large suit after a brief hearing. The lawsuits were filed on behalf of 25 couples, all of whom applied for marriage licenses and were denied, MSNBC reported.
The only issue that remains is finding someone to defend against the lawsuit. The Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez refused to defend the same-sex marriage ban because it violates the Illinois constitution’s equal protection clause.
These two offices would normally defend the county clerk in a lawsuit, but will not be. Orr, a same-sex marriage supporter, applauds the lawsuits and agree with the plaintiffs.
John Knight, director of the LGBT Project of the ACLU of Illinois, said plaintiffs will ask the judge to rule on the law based on their arguments and those of Madigan and Alvarez. But the Thomas More Society, a public interest law group that opposes same-sex marriage, said it will file a petition for the court to allow Thomas More attorney’s to defend the same-sex marriage ban.
Illinois legalized civil unions over a year ago, but the couples being represented want full marriage equality.