The ACLU of Illinois and Lambda Legal
on Wednesday plan to file legal challenges to Illinois' gay marriage
The two separate lawsuits represent
more than two dozen gay and lesbian couples who wish to marry in
Illinois but are unable because state law defines marriage as a
The move comes one year after Illinois
legalized civil unions for gay couples and two weeks after President
Barack Obama endorsed gay marriage. Obama represented Illinois as a
Lead plaintiffs in the ACLU case, which
has 9 couples, are Tanya Lazaro and Elizabeth “Liz” Matos of
Chicago. The couple is raising two daughters, two-year-old Jaiden
and newborn Sophia. They have rejected the idea of entering a civil
“Our relationship is not about some
legal benefits and protections, but about love for one another,”
Lazaro, a Chicago Police Department Detective, said in a statement.
“We love each other; we are committed to one another. Anything
short of marriage does not recognize that love and commitment.”
“It is remarkable that Tanya risks
her life each day to go out into the City of Chicago and keep people
safe, but the law does not recognize fully the family that we have
built together,” said Matos.
Three openly gay Illinois lawmakers
have introduced a gay marriage bill, which
has the support of Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, but lawmakers
are not expected to act on the measure before the legislative session
ends this week.
Sixteen couples have joined the Lambda
Legal case, including Janean Watkins and Lakeesha Harris, the first
couple last year to get a civil union license in Cook County. The
women have been together for a dozen years and are raising six
“We have the kids; it's important for
them to see that the relationship we're in is validated by the
state,” Watkins told the AP.
Legal has also filed a lawsuit challenging Nevada's prohibition on
gay couples marrying.