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Judge Rules Same-Sex Marriages In Cook County Can Begin Immediately

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 21, 2014 8:15PM

A federal judge ruled Friday that same-sex couples in Cook County don’t have to wait for the marriage equality law to take effect in June in order to get married. U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman said, "There is no reason to delay further when no opposition has been presented to this Court and committed gay and lesbian couples have already suffered from the denial of their fundamental right to marry.”

The ruling only affects same-sex marriages in Cook County and was in response to a class action lawsuit against the county clerk’s office. Cook County Clerk David Orr—a longtime supporter of marriage equality—filed a brief in support of the lawsuit, said gay and lesbian couples could file for marriage licenses “immediately” and could marry as soon as Saturday.

"This is a day that is a long time coming," Orr said in front of a banner in the clerk's office that read, "Marriage equality begins today!!!"

Charlie Gurion, 25, and David Wilk, 30, have the distinction of being the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license after the ruling. Gurion proposed to Wilk last August during a trip to Paris and read about the ruling on Facebook. Gurion told the Sun-Times he and Wilk were planning a September wedding “but things apparently are going to be pushed up a bit.”

The County Clerk’s office will remain open until 7 p.m. Friday while suburban offices will begin issuing licenses Monday. A previous ruling in federal court allowed same-sex couples to marry if one of the partners could prove they had a life-threatening illness.