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Illinois AG Says Counties Can Issue Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

Jim Burroway

March 5th, 2014

Following the recent ruling by a Federal Judge allowing same-sex marriages to begin in Cook County without waiting for Illinois’s marriage equality law to go into effect in June, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has issued a letter encouraging County Clerks statewide to begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples:

Madigan spelled out her position in a letter to the Macon County clerk’s office, which sought legal guidance following a Feb. 21 ruling from U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman. The ruling allows Cook County same-sex couples to get married now, before a state law on the matter that takes effect June 1.

In the letter, Madigan said other counties were not bound by last month’s ruling, but that her office expects it “to be persuasive” to other courts addressing the matter. If a couple sues an Illinois county after being denied a marriage license before the law otherwise takes effect, she said, her office would intervene on the side of the plaintiffs and argue that the denial is unconstitutional.

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