Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten on Wednesday announced that he would begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples immediately.

Cook County on Friday became the first Illinois county to start issuing such licenses after a federal judge ruled that there was no need to wait for a marriage law to take effect on June 1. The ruling was limited to Cook County but marriage equality supporters called on the state's 101 other county clerks to act.

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

“On Friday, federal judge Sharon Johnson Coleman held that the Illinois statute banning marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional and violates the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause,” Hulten said in a statement. “The Illinois Attorney General and the Cook County Clerk were parties to the suit. The precise effect of the ruling on other Illinois counties is unclear. However, after consulting with State's Attorney Julia Rietz, I have come to the conclusion that the rationale of the case applies to all citizens of Illinois and that Champaign County residents should have no fewer Constitutional rights than those in Cook County. Furthermore, given the ruling, denying a license to a same sex couple would provide no benefit to the County and would likely result in litigation at taxpayer expense.”

“Therefore, effective immediately, the Champaign County Clerk's office will issue marriage licenses to same sex applicants, in accordance with the 14th Amendment, and the Illinois and United States Constitutions,” he added.

Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, applauded Hulten's move and called on other county clerks to follow suit.

“As we saw in the immediate rush to the Cook County Clerk's marriage bureau after Friday's ruling, gay and lesbian couples are eager and ready to take the step that not only grants them and their family the legal benefits and rights of marriage but also bestows society's recognition that their love is equal,” Cherkasov said.

Champaign County is the 10th most populous county in Illinois and is part of the Champaign-Urbana metropolitan area.