The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

November 6, 2013

Plans for Illinois same-sex marriages in the works

(Continued)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. —

“This is like a final piece of the puzzle for us,” said Jack Johnson, the head of the Chicago bureau.

However, the logistics of the state’s same-sex marriage bill are still in the works.

While those already in civil unions will be able to get a marriage license without an additional fee, the start date is causing some headaches. Some county clerk offices have said they’ll open on June 1 and others aren’t so sure.

The bulk the state’s civil unions — roughly 4,000 of the 5,000 in the state — were issued in Cook County. After being undecided on whether their facilities would be open on a Sunday, officials with Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office announced Wednesday that they’d open June 1.

“There will be people competing to get the first license,” Orr said.

In central Illinois, Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten said his office will be open; The county has issued 197 civil unions. In southwestern Illinois, Madison County Clerk Debra Ming-Mendoza said the office will open to issue marriage licenses June 2; The county has issued 191 civil unions.

The issue could be moot, however.

State Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, has filed legislation to move up the effective date on the same-sex marriage bill, but a vote isn’t expected this week as lawmakers finish up the final days of veto session. That’s because legislation approved in veto session needs a heftier vote for it to take effect immediately and the gay marriage vote squeaked by in the House with little more than a simple majority.

Harmon’s legislation could come up in January, allowing couples to wed earlier.

The newly-approved legislation also affects a lawsuit that has been pending in Cook County. Twenty-five couples had sued after being rejected for marriage licenses at county clerk offices, but attorneys for Lambda Legal, which represents some of the couples, said that the lawsuit was likely to be dismissed in light of the legislation.

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