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A Look At Illinois' Same-Sex Marriage History Ahead Of Landmark Supreme Court Ruling

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Jun 26, 2015 5:30PM

We've long been arguing that love is love, and now the U.S. Supreme Court agrees, too.

Progress on the legalization of same-sex marriage in America has seemed slow to come or quicker than expected, depending on whom you ask. Less than a decade ago, the idea seemed like a radical pipe dream, and now the Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry.

Before Friday morning, states were largely left up to their own devices when it came to same-sex marriage. Illinois was ahead of the curve, but not by much. And as Mayor Rahm Emanuel hinted at in a statement released about the landmark court ruling, Chicagoans have been among those fighting to make today possible for years.

"I want to thank every resident of the City of Chicago who fought to make today’s historic victory possible,” he said. "Today marks one of the great civil rights victories of our time."

In honor of this historic day, we looked back at the slow and then rapid timeline of same-sex marriage in Illinois:

1996 The state government amended the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to prohibit same-sex marriage.

February 22, 2007 A bill to allow same-sex marriage was first introduced to the state house of representatives. The bill died in committee.

February 23, 2007 A bill to allow same-sex civil unions was first introduced to the state house of representatives. The bill went through several iterations over four years before reaching the governor's desk.

January 31 2011 Former Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation establishing civil unions.

June 1, 2011 Illinois establishes civil unions per Quinn's legislation.

January 1, 2013
Archbishop of Chicago Cardinal Francis George decried the state's moves to legalize same-sex marriage in a letter to Roman Catholic parishioners. He wrote that same-sex marriage was "acting against the common good of society", and, "The state has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible."

Photo Via Anita Alvarez's Facebook page.

June 14, 2012 Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez announced that her office would file a motion to declare the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.

May 13, 2013
The State legislature faced an uproar from state residents after announcing that it would put off making a decision on the state's same-sex marriage bill until the next legislative session. An emotional Rep. Greg Harris promised there would be a vote in November:

November 20, 2013 Former Gov. Pat Quinn signed the law legally recognizing same-sex marriage in the state.

December 6, 2013 Four same-sex couples, two of whom had partners suffering from terminal illnesses, filed a federal lawsuit against Cook County seeking the right to receive a marriage license without waiting for the Illinois' statute to go into effect the following year.

Patrick Bova and Jim Darby (a Navy Veteran) have been together for over 50 years. Now they can finally be legally wed.

December 10, 2013 A judged ruled that any same-sex couple could marry if one partner was terminally ill.

February 21, 2014 A federal court ruling declared Illinois' ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and that Cook County could begin issuing marriage licenses immediately.

February 26, 2014
Champaign County officials, citing the ruling, began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. By April 15, sixteen counties had begun issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

June 1, 2014 Illinois counties were required to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

June 26, 2015 The U.S. Supreme Court declares same-sex marriage a right under the Constitution, it must be recognized in all 50 states.