Illinois court considering validity of same-sex marriage ban

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court made history when it repealed the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman only for purposes of federal rules and benefits. The case also inspired a push in many states, including Illinois, to legalize same-sex marriage.

Currently, there are 13 states that recognize same-sex marriage. This week, a lawsuit in Illinois challenged the state’s same-sex marriage ban in effort to make the unions legal. The lawsuit includes 25 same-sex couples who filed for marriage licenses in Cook County but had the licenses denied because of the ban.

The plaintiffs argue that the same-sex marriage ban, which was passed in 1996, is an infringement on their constitutional due process rights. However, the county is arguing that the ban is constitutional, in part because same-sex couples in Illinois are allowed to enter civil unions, which afford many of the same rights as marriage.

The county has asked for summary judgment case dismissal. The plaintiffs are also seeking a quick ruling through summary judgment, though they are asking that the same-sex marriage ban be repealed on its face. However, it is also possible that the court could decide not to grant summary judgment and a full trial could result.

After nearly two hours of oral arguments on Tuesday, the Cook County Judge presiding over the lawsuit said she will have a decision on the whether to dismiss the case at the end of September.

In addition to filing this lawsuit, advocates for same-sex marriage in the state have also pledged that there will be a gay marriage bill introduced in the state legislature this fall. A marriage equality bill was introduced at the last legislative session but was not successful.

Source: Chicago Daily Herald, “Judge’s decision on same-sex marriage to come next month,” Aug. 6, 2013

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