ACLU & Lambda Legal Argue Case for Twenty-Five
Illinois Scurrying to Strike Down “Unsconstitutional” Ban
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a federal same-sex marriage ban, Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), states that do not have same-sex marriage are filing suits for federal benefits such as Pennsylvania, New Mexico and New Jersey The American Civil Liberties Union and New York-based gay rights organization Lambda Legal are busy filing suits challenging gay marriage bans. They are also planning to lodge same-sex challenges in North Carolina and Virginia. Other battleground states where federal court challenges are emerging are Nevada, Hawaii, and Michigan, and Illinois as well.
Law Suits In Illinois
Illinois legalized civil unions in 2011. Two separate lawsuits, now consolidated into one, were filed jointly last May by Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois on behalf of the couples who were denied marriage licenses. They filed a motion for summary judgment, citing U.S Supreme Court ruling about federal marriage benefits in Cook County Circuit Court on July 10, 2013. On behalf of twenty-five, they lawyers argued that Illinois laws prohibiting same-sex marriage in Illinois is unconstitutional because they are not able to access federal benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy.
Sophia Hall and the Courts
They have requested that Circuit Judge Sophia Hall void the law, a seventeen year-old ban. Hall could rule on the motion as soon as August 6 when oral arguments are scheduled on a defense motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat and Cook County Clerk David Orr, whose office is responsible for issuing marriage licenses, have declined to oppose the lawsuits. The defense of the ban has been taken up by intervening clerks from counties outside of Chicago’s metropolitan area.
Amicus or “Friends of the Court” Briefs Filed by Religious Groups
Over two hundred religious leaders submitted letters to the court for consideration in a legal challenge to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage pending in Cook County Circuit Court. The leaders claimed their faith’s doctrine and tradition should not get in the way of allowing gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. In the brief, the leaders urged Judge Sophia Hall to strike down the ban because religious traditions should not be codified in civil law.
The Roman Catholic Church, specifically the Catholic Conference of Illinois,have filed their own amicus briefs in favor of upholding the ban because” the legal recognition of gay and lesbian nuptials will diminish religious liberty.”