(Editor's note: The Illinois Senate plans to vote on a gay-marriage bill on Valentine's Day.)
CHICAGO -- The Circuit Court of Cook County Chancery Division today denied a motion to stay the cases brought by Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois seeking marriage for same-sex couples.
The motion, brought by The Thomas More Society, attempted to delay any action in the case pending decisions in two federal marriage cases up for review in the United States Supreme Court, United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry.
"The cases up for review in the United States Supreme Court involve different parties and a different body of law -- Illinois courts do not permit a defendant to stall a case based on speculation about what may happen in someone else's lawsuit involving a different body of law," said Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal. "We are pleased that our case will move forward and that loving, committed Illinois couples will have the chance to get to the heart of this case and explain to this Court why marriage is so important to their families."
On May 30, 2012, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois each filed lawsuits representing a total of 25 same-sex couples from across the state of Illinois seeking the freedom to marry. Two days later, the Illinois Attorney General's office filed papers agreeing that the ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional. The Cook County Clerk and States Attorney also agree that the marriage ban is unconstitutional.
After the Tazewell and Effingham County Clerks moved to intervene, promising a vigorous defense of the marriage ban, the Court entered an unopposed order permitting them to intervene as defendants. Soon after, the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-gay group based in Arizona, moved to intervene on behalf of IFI, an organization with a history of making derogatory and untruthful statements about lesbian and gay people. In November 2012, the motion was denied, and the Thomas More Society soon filed a motion to delay court proceedings.
"The motion made by the Thomas More Society was a distraction that attempted to delay the inevitable," said John Knight, Director, LGBT/AIDS Project for the ACLU of Illinois. "We are looking forward to the day Illinois same-sex couples will be able to tell their stories in court."
Camilla Taylor, National Marriage Project Director and Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office are handling the case Darby v. Orr for Lambda Legal. John Knight, Harvey Grossman and Karen Sheley are handling the case Lazaro v. Orr for the ACLU of Illinois. They are joined by Emily Nicklin, Jordan M. Heinz, Amy Crawford and Kate Guilfoyle of Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago.