Gay couples can marry in Cook County right away, judge says
February 21, 2014 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- The first same-sex couple received a marriage certificate in Cook County, Ill., just hours after the judge ruled their wait was over.
Charlie Gurion, 25, saw that U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled Friday morning that there was no reason for same-sex couples to wait for marriage until June, which is when an Illinois law goes into effect making gay marriage legal. So he called his partner, David Wilk, 30, at work, and talked him into heading the courthouse. The two have been together for three and half years.
"For this to happen so quickly, it means so much to us," Wilk said.
The two have been together for 31/2 years.
"There is no reason to delay further when no opposition has been presented to this Court and committed gay and lesbian couples have already suffered from the denial of their fundamental right to marry," U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman said Friday. In December, Coleman ruled that same-sex couples facing a life-threatening illness didn't have to wait for the Illinois law. On Friday she took that a step further.
Her ruling only affects same-sex marriages in Cook County based on the posture of the class action lawsuit Lee v. Orr, in which Cook County Clerk David Orr was the defendant. The lawsuit was brought by the ACLU and Lambda Legal.
"The U.S. Constitution guarantees these families the personal and emotional benefits as well as the critical legal protections of marriage now, and we are thankful that the court extended this dignity to couples immediately," John Knight, LGBT and AIDS project director for the ACLU of Illinois said in a statement.
Orr said his office would stay open until 7 p.m. on Friday.
"We are ready to make a good experience for people. If the numbers are really significant, we will do our best to not keep you in too long a line," Orr said.
Gurion and Wilk will get married later this year. However, another couple got married on Friday. Theresa and Mercedes Santos-Volpe have been together for 22 years. They have three children. The two were plaintiffs in a long-running legal action to get to this day.
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