A federal judge on Monday ordered Cook
County Clerk David Orr to issue a marriage license to a lesbian
couple months before a law legalizing such unions is set to take
effect in Illinois.
Vernita Gray, 64, and Pat Ewert, 65,
filed a lawsuit Friday, arguing that they should be allowed to marry
early because Gray is battling terminal cancer.
Jim Bennett, a close friend, told the
Sun-Times: “Vernita is absolutely thrilled. When I told
her the news, she wanted to get up and dance, if she could, but
thought that wasn't such a good idea.”
The marriage law signed last week by
Democratic Governor Pat Quinn takes effect on June 1. However,
lawmakers are considering moving up the date to February.
A spokeswoman for Clerk David Orr told
the paper that the couple could marry on Tuesday.
Gray, a retired victim's advocate with
the Cook County state's attorney's office, and Ewert were among the
first couples to enter a civil union in 2011.
“This case illustrates the cruelty of
the wait before the marriage law goes into effect, and it's wonderful
to give them relief and the understanding of what it is to be married
before it's too late,” said Camilla Taylor, the couple's attorney.