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Illinois Family Institute Wants To Join Same-Sex Marriage Lawsuit

By Amy Cavanaugh in News on Sep 29, 2012 8:00PM

A couple files their civil union license with the county after their union formally declared by a judge. (Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist)
Back in May, the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal each filed lawsuits in Cook County Circuit Court that claim that banning same-sex marriage is a violation of the Illinois Constitution. In July, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez announced that her office was filing a motion to declare Illinois' ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, and Lisa Madigan, the state attorney general, agreed. Then in July, two downstate county clerks were granted permission to defend Illinois' ban on same-sex marriage.

On Thursday, the Illinois Family Institute decided to try and get into the lawsuit. The Tribune reports that:

Bryan Beauman, an attorney representing the Illinois Family Institute, said that allowing the organization — which opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions — to defend the state’s marriage law would “even the playing field.”

Beauman told Judge Sophia Hall today that along with the Illinois Family Institute’s work on implementing the original state law banning gay marriage, the absence of any defense from the state creates “a more compelling reason to let the Illinois Family Institute in to assist on the case.”

Emily Nicklin, an attorney from the law firm Kirkland & Ellis who is working with the ACLU and Lambda Legal on the lawsuit, said the Illinois Family Institute does not have enough of a stake in the case to intervene.

“The fact that these people have spent time and money (on this issue) doesn’t meet the standard to intervene,” she said.

Judge Hall said she would consider the arguments; the next hearing is scheduled for November 7.