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Federal judge allows Illinois same-sex couple to marry

A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [official website] on Monday ordered the Cook County Clerk [official website] to immediately issue a marriage license to same-sex couple Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert. Gray and Ewert petitioned for an immediate marriage license due to Gray's battle with terminal breast cancer. Cook County officials complied with the order by hand-delivering [Chicago Tribune report] a marriage license to the couple. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn [official website] had signed [JURIST report] the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act [text, PDF] last Wednesday, which will allow same-sex marriage beginning in June 2014. The exception to the effective date, which expires in December, applies only to Gray and Ewert.

Earlier this month Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie [official website] signed into law [JURIST report] a bill legalizing same-sex marriage [text, PDF]. Also this month a federal judge in Ohio ruled [JURIST report] that a lawsuit seeking the recognition of same-sex marriages on Ohio death certificates could continue. A Colorado same-sex couple also filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] this month seeking a marriage license. In October a Missouri court denied [JURIST report] a same-sex partner survivor benefits. JURIST Guest Columnist Theodore Seto argued last month that the fallout from the US v. Windsor [SCOTUSblog backgrounder; JURIST report] decision is only beginning to show the role state governments will have [JURIST op-ed] in state constitutional modification, in addition to the possibility that a same-sex marriage case will reach the US Supreme Court in the future. In September a Kentucky judge issued a ruling in the opposite direction, holding that in same-sex partners must testify against one another [JURIST report] because same-sex partners are not protected by the spousal privilege under state law.

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