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Second Illinois County Begins Issuing Marriage Licenses To Same-Sex Couples

Sean Powers

Champaign County issued its first marriage license to a same-sex couple Wednesday, the second county in Illinois to do so.  Laura and Marissa Meli are University of Illinois law students who've been a couple for eight years. 

A judge ruled Friday that a statute banning same-sex marriage in the state was unconstitutional.  The ruling only applied to Cook County. The county began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples the same day. 
After a review process with the Champaign County State’s Attorney…  Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten says he decided that same-sex couples in his county can immediately seek marriage licenses, rather than waiting until a new law allowing them takes effect June 1:

“We determined for a number of reasons once the federal courts ruled that the state ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional in Cook County … that means it’s unconstitutional for the entire state. That the residents of Champaign County don’t have any fewer constitutional rights than those in Cook County… and that it would be a disservice to require same-sex couples in Champaign County to go through the litigation process.”

A number of other Illinois counties say they will wait on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the new state law takes effect.
UPDATE 2/26 5:47pm:  Republican McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael says she hopes to be issuing licenses by the middle of next week.

It’s legal, if there’s an illness, to be granted a marriage license of same-sex, now. Why would it be delayed ‘till June First, when there are exceptions that are already being made?

Guy Stephens produces news stories for the station, and coordinates our online events calendar, PSAs and Arts Calendar announcements. In each of these ways, Guy helps keep our listening community informed about what's going on, whether on a national or local level. Guy's degrees are in music, and he spent a number of years as a classical host on WNIU. In fact, after nearly 20 years with Northern Public Radio, the best description of his job may be "other duties as required."