Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
on Tuesday said that all county clerks can immediately begin issuing
marriage licenses to gay couples, roughly 3 months before a gay
marriage law approved by lawmakers takes effect on June 1.
Macon County Clerk Stephen Bean reached
out to Madigan after a federal judge ordered Cook County to begin
issuing marriage licenses. The judge said that the order only
applied to Cook County.
in lawsuit among first gay couples to marry in Chicago.)
Madigan responded that since courts
have found the state's ban to be unconstitutional, gay and lesbian
couples asking for a marriage license in any county should be given
“[T]he protections guaranteed by the
Constitution must exist without regard to county lines,” Madigan
The letter was shared with all 102
counties in the state.
According to LGBT rights group Equality
Illinois, roughly 260 gay couples have obtained marriage licenses in
Cook County in the 12 days since the ruling was handed down.
Democratic Governor Pat Quinn has asked
county clerks to follow Madigan's advice.