Federal Court Orders Some Same-gender Marriage Licenses

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December 17, 2013 — A federal court is ordering an Illinois county clerk’s office to issue a marriage license to any same-sex couple who wants to wed immediately because one of them has a life-threatening illness.

Illinois last month became the 16th state to legalize gay marriage, but couples can’t apply for licenses until June 1.

But following U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman order yesterday to the Cook County clerk’s office, they will be able to marry straightaway if they can provide a doctor’s note saying one partner has a life-threatening illness.

Two Chicago women became the first same-sex couple to wed in Illinois last month after they asked a federal judge for an expedited license.  Gay rights advocates say three gay couples have been granted emergency marriage license applications in Cook County.

When Illinois lawmakers readied for a same-sex marriage vote last month, conservative groups vowed to help mount primary challenges against those who voted yes, but now that gay marriage is Illinois law, that threat seems to have evaporated.

A coalition of pastors that launched an aggressive campaign against gay marriage and said it would target black House Democrats dropped the pursuit.  Even challengers to three House Republicans who voted “yes” haven’t made it much of a 2014 issue yet.

Experts say a major reason is that public opinion has changed quickly, leaving less political risk.

Of the 14 black House Democrats who voted yes, only half have primary challengers, and none of challengers reached by The Associated Press say the gay marriage vote was a main motivator for seeking office.


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