A Cook County, Illinois judge ruled Friday that a lawsuit
challenging the state's ban on gay marriage can proceed.
Circuit Judge Sophia Hall denied a motion to dismiss the lawsuit
after hearing oral arguments in the case on August 6.
Plaintiffs in the suit are twenty-five gay and lesbian couples who
requested marriage licenses in Cook County, which includes Chicago,
but were denied.
Illinois currently recognizes gay couples with civil unions but a
state law limits marriage to heterosexual couples.
A marriage bill stalled in the House after passage in the Senate
on Valentine's Day. Activists are lobbying for a final House vote
during the upcoming fall session, but the bill's champion in the
House, Rep. Greg Harris, has signaled that he's considering tabling
the bill until next year.
gay marriage bill might not see House vote this year.)
The socially conservative Thomas More Society intervened to defend
the state's marriage laws after state officials refused to do so.
Opponents argued that gay couples are not harmed by the law because
they have the option of marrying in 13 other states plus the District
“Nothing in Windsor suggests that the availability of the
federal benefits of marriage would be lost if a same-sex couple
validly married in one State moved (or returned) to a State that does
not allow or recognize such marriages. Thus, those plaintiffs who
were lawfully married in another State (or who would marry in another
State) may be eligible for all the federal benefits of marriage,
regardless of the fact that Illinois does not allow or recognize such
marriages (other than as civil unions),” lawyers for the Thomas
More Society wrote in their brief.