Equality Illinois Says Madigan Letter “Green Lights” Marriage in All Counties
CHICAGO (March 4, 2014) – Equality Illinois said Tuesday that a letter released tonight by Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan gives all Illinois counties the green light to immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The letter released by the Illinois attorney general regarding marriage equality says “the protections guaranteed by the Constitution must exist without regard to county lines.”
The letter was sent in response to a question from Macon County Clerk Stephen Bean in Decatur about whether the federal court decision ordering Cook County Clerk David Orr to begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples applies to counties in the rest of the state. It was shared with all 102 counties in the state.
“We agree with the Attorney General that the recent federal decision knocking down restrictions on marriage equality as unconstitutional should be the determining factor in clerks’ decisions to issue the licenses before the June 1 effective date of the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans.
“Already some 260 couples have obtained licenses in Cook County, according to David Orr’s office, and there are many thousands more around the state awaiting the time that they can have their love legally recognized,” Cherkasov said.
In her letter, Madigan said the courts’ decisions in marriage cases “should be persuasive” and should be given “full consideration” by the county clerks throughout Illinois. If a lawsuit results, Madigan said, “We would argue that it is unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.”
“We applaud the attorney general for her conclusions and urge counties throughout the state to follow through,” Cherkasov said.
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