More great developments from Illinois on marriage equality. Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez agrees with two new lawsuits filed by ACLU and Lambda Legal that the statute prohibiting same-sex marriage violates Illinois' constitution, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Two recent lawsuits against Cook County Clerk David Orr claim that not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the Illinois Constitution. The state’s attorney’s response, filed today, agrees with that claim. “We believe the plaintiffs are correct in their assertion that the Illinois Constitution upholds marriage equality for same sex couples just as it does for opposite sex couples,” spokeswoman Sally Daly said in an email.
The filing by the Chicago prosecutor—who represents the nation's second most populous county—follows a finding by Illinois State Attorney General Lisa Madigan that the marriage statute is unconstitutional. Gov. Pat Quinn also supports marriage equality. Illinois does not have a constitutional marriage amendment.
ACLU and Lambda Legal filed their lawsuits on May 30. The next hearing in the case will be June 21, when a motion to combine the two lawsuits will be heard.
Illinois became the sixth state to allow civil unions after Quinn signed the landmark Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act in January 2011. Since then, Hawaii and Delaware have also granted civil unions for same-sex couples.
Six states currently mandate marriage equality—Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York—as does the District of Columbia. Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire signed legislation to make Washington the seventh state in February. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed his state's marriage equality law in March. Both the Maryland and Washington legislation will head to the November ballot in a voter referendum.
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