Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Friday applauded a federal judge's ruling allowing gay and lesbian couples to begin marrying in Cook County instead of waiting until June 1, when the state's gay marriage law was scheduled to take effect.

(Related: Plaintiffs in lawsuit among first gay couples to marry in Chicago.)

“Many couples in Illinois have waited long enough for marriage equality,” Quinn said in a statement, “and today's ruling means thousands of Illinois couples no longer have to wait.”

“Our law is a victory for equal rights in America, and shows that citizens and lawmakers can come together on issues of fairness and human rights.”

“I applaud U.S. District Court Judge Sharon J. Coleman for her stance in recognizing that 'there is no reason to delay further' giving all couples the right to marry in Cook County.”

“Every county across the state should enjoy the same freedom without having to wait until June,” Quinn added.

The ACLU of Illinois has called on other clerks to “abide by the ruling.”

Quinn last year signed Illinois' marriage equality bill into law.

(Related: As Cook County begins issuing licenses, bill aims to repeal Illinois' gay marriage law.)