Nearly 5,000 gay and lesbian couples
entered a civil union in the year since Illinois legalized the union.
The law, signed by Democratic Governor
Pat Quinn, went into effect on June 1, 2011.
The largest number of licenses issued
were from Cook County, where 2,504 couples tied the knot. DuPage
County came in second with 264 licenses issued, the BurrRidge
The anniversary comes as activists
launch a new push for equal marriage rights for gay couples.
While a bill which would legalize
marriage equality in Illinois has languished in the Illinois General
Assembly, advocates this week filed two legal challenges to the
The ACLU of Illinois and Lambda Legal
are representing more than two dozen gay and lesbian couples who wish
to marry in Illinois but are unable because state law defines
marriage as a heterosexual union.
The legal challenges are supported by
Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
The suits claim that Cook County Clerk
David Orr's refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples
violates their rights to due process and equal protection under the
Orr released a statement in support of
marriage equality: “The time is long past due for the state of
Illinois to allow county clerks to issue marriage license to couples
who want to make their commitment. I hope these lawsuits are the
last hurdle to achieving equal marriage rights for all.”
Gov. Pat Quinn endorses gay marriage.)