FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 30, 2012
The time is long past due for the State of Illinois to allow county clerks to issue marriage licenses to couples who want to make that commitment. I hope this lawsuit clears the last hurdle to achieving equal marriage rights for all.
The courts have overcome discriminatory laws in the past and I trust they will do so again. Marriage equality is already the law in New York, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia, and similar laws are pending elsewhere.
As everyone who has followed this issue knows, I fully support the right of people to marry, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Nobody should have to pass a gender test to get a marriage license.
In Cook County alone, we issued nearly 2,500 civil union licenses since June 1, 2011. This outpouring is a testament to the thousands of families who are denied legal protections which opposite-sex couples take for granted.
Over the years, we have tried to narrow the gap between discrimination and equal rights, first with the Cook County Domestic Partnership Registry, next with gender-blind Civil Unions. But these were never permanent solutions.
Marriage, like a civil union, should be a gender-blind covenant. We cannot be satisfied until all couples can marry and are treated equally under the law in Illinois, and in all the United States.