Cook County Clerk David Orr on Friday
announced that his office would begin issuing licenses to gay and
lesbian couples “immediately.”
Orr's announcement followed a federal
judge's decision that gay couples should not have to wait for
Illinois' marriage law, approved by lawmakers last year, to take
effect on June 1.
“There is no reason to delay further
when no opposition has been presented to this Court and committed gay
and lesbian couples have already suffered from the denial of their
fundamental right to marry,” U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson
“I'm thrilled same-sex couples who
want to get married won't have to wait any longer,” Orr is quoted
as saying by Reuters.
“We are very excited to celebrate this historic milestone with
every loving couple from today onward.”
Downtown Chicago's Bureau of Vital
Records will remain open until 7PM, two hours later than usual, to
accommodate an expected rush of couples.
With Illinois crossing over from civil
unions to marriage, Colorado becomes the only state to recognize the
relationships of gay couples with civil unions.