Illinois Judge Asked to Overturn Gay Marriage Ban

Illinois laws prohibiting same-sex marriage should be declared unconstitutional, the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal argued to a state court judge.

Today’s request for Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sophia Hall in Chicago to void the laws comes two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the federal Defense of Marriage Act’s provision defining the relationship as between one man and one woman.

“The end of DoMA creates a new urgency and same-sex couples can’t wait any longer,” Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project Director for the New York-based gay rights advocacy group Lambda Legal, said in a statement announcing the filing.

The Chicago court challenge, filed jointly in a pair of cases begun last year, follows similar bids in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New Mexico.

While Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, and Cook County Clerk David Orr, whose office is responsible for issuing marriage licenses, have declined to oppose the lawsuits, defense of the ban has been taken up by intervening clerks from five counties outside the Chicago metropolitan area.

Two of the clerks are represented by attorneys from the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, which describes itself on its website as a non-profit public interest law firm “that exists to restore respect in law for life, marriage and religious liberty.”

Thomas Ciesielka, a spokesman for the group, didn’t immediately respond to voice-mail messages seeking comment on today’s filing.

The intervening counties have asked Hall to dismiss the lawsuits. Oral argument on that request is scheduled for Aug. 6, Taylor said.

The cases are Darby v. Orr, 12CH19718, and Lazaro v. Orr, 12CH,19719, Cook County, Illinois, Circuit Court, Chancery Division (Chicago).

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in the Chicago federal courthouse at

aharris16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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