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Cook County State's Attorney Argues Gay Marriage Ban in Illinios Unconstitutional

State's Attorney Anita Alvarez says she supports lawsuits that call an Illinois ban against gay marriage unconstitutional.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said at a press conference Thursday afternoon that she supports lawsuits that question whether an Illinois ban on gay marriage is constitutional.

Two lawsuits recently brought by Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois argue that Cook County Clerk David Orr discriminates against gay couples that wish to marry, but are not allowed marriage licenses, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday. Both Orr and Alvarez said they agree and also questioned whether a ban on gay marriage in Illinois is constitutional. Orr even compared the state's ban to laws that banned couples of different races from marrying.

The Chicago Tribune called it an "unprecedented turn" in the fight for marriage equality in the state, and said it was the first instance in which a state has refused to contest a lawsuit which questions the legality of a gay marriage ban.

Opponents are upset with the state's attorney’s office, WBEZ reported. The conservative Thomas Moore Society said they would be preparing legal documents to defend the law themselves. ABC7 News reported that Peter Breen of the Thomas Moore Society believes it was no coincidence that the lawsuits have been filed in Cook County, because of his expectation that politicians in Chicago will come out in support of gay marriage.

In the spirit that all politics is local, we're asking you. What do you think about Illinois ban on gay marriage? Do you think Alvarez was correct in refusing to fight the lawsuits? What does it mean in the fight for marriage equality in Illinois?

Tell us in comments.

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Juan Cedeno June 18, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Alvarez was correct in refusing to fight the lawsuits. Two same-sex partners marrying does not infringe on my civil liberties in any shape or form. In countries where same sex marriage has been legalized life moved on.
Alexis June 18, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Edward: LGBT individuals are not "shoving our lifestyle" down anyone's throats. Rather, same sex couples are fighting to achieve legally sanctioned marriages equal to that of opposite sex couples. We are trying to achieve equality because we deserve the right and freedom to love and marry whoever we want! On a federal level, same sex couples are denied 1000+ benefits that the federal government gives to heterosexual married couples. Same sex couples are denied benefits such as Social Security survivor benefits, federal tax benefits, federal health benefits and retirement benefits...the list goes on. I should also mention one more: there are over 36,000 bi-national same sex married couples where one partner is a U.S. citizen and the other is not. Unlike heterosexual married couples, the American spouse is denied the federal benefit of sponsoring the foreign-born spouse a green card. Many of these couples have children. Many of these families are being ripped apart because their marriages are not recognized at the federal level. One of the spouses in the marriage is facing deportation--can you imagine the poor child who has to say goodbye to Mom or Dad as they are deported from this country? Another one: our service members can be open and married, but their spouses are not entitled to VA benefits if they are same sex. Legally sanctioned marriages are NOT equal to that of opposite sex couples. This is DISCRIMINATION. It is UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
Alexis June 18, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Of course Alvarez was correct in refusing to fight the lawsuits. Our government is spending way too much money (it doesn't have) on this issue. Too many people are against same sex marriage because "supposedly" the bible tells them it is wrong. Government and Religion aren't supposed to mix. Women were banned from voting...whites and blacks couldn't marry....blacks couldn't attend the same schools as white kids...over 11 million holocaust victims all because they were Jewish??? The time is now to stop the judgement, the looking down upon, the discrimination, the bias and hatred against LGBT!!! We are all human and we all deserve equality!!!
Edward Andrysiak June 18, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Alexis...you need to reread my post. I gave you ALL the rights afforded to a marriage between a man and woman. You get all those things you rave about not getting and being discriminated against...got it? All I suggested is that you folks stop trying to call it a Marriage...it does not fit that description. You didn't say one word about that . Instead you went on to rave and divert the subject away from the issue I pointed to. Stay on focus. Work on another acceptable term to use and then work on obtaining all the rights you seek to go with it. I might add that you would help your cause by posting your full name as is required on this site. (it's OK )
Inis Magrath June 18, 2012 at 08:58 PM
@Edward Andrysiak: The term used to describe the state of having all of the rights of marriage is called, "marriage." The word marriage itself carries with it social weight, recognition and stature. The very fact that you don't want others to use the word demonstrates that the word itself is of value. There is no civil constitutional legal basis to deprive the fundamental civil right of marriage to any couple merely because that couple consists of two same-sex adults. You don't like that. It bothers you. I get it. But the mere fact that it bothers you is not a sufficient valid constitutional legal argument upon which to deprive others of their rights.
Kerry June 18, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Inis, i get where you are coming from. But the mere fact that it bothers two same sex adults not to be called married deprives others of their right to have only male - female marriages.
Amanda Luevano (Editor) June 18, 2012 at 09:57 PM
This comment has been removed due to profanity. I realize this is a controversial issue for some, but please try to keep the conversation civil and respectful. Thanks. Amanda Luevano Editor, Lemont Patch
Alexis June 19, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Edward, I think it is pretty obvious from my post that I do not support your view that we should call it something other than marriage...that is what you call making an inference. You call it a "rant", but I call it actively supporting equality for same sex couples, and I was right on focus! By the way, calling it something other than marriage for same sex couples, as you suggest, is called: civil unions...and Edward, it isn't enough.
Alexis June 19, 2012 at 01:03 AM
PS: Edward, stop shoving your lifestyle down my throat. How does that feel?
Edward Andrysiak June 19, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Alexis...when you think past the emotion to the practical side of what you want to call your union, think about the mountain of terms and paperwork that will need to be changed to accomodate same sex "marriages". I see past just the word. Example...the word *husband* and *wife* have meaning and define and tie back to a marriage. We all understand those ties and use them as references daily in business and our personal life. Now, when two same sex "marrieds" are introducing themselves do they say this is my husband, or wife? No, they will have to say this is my life partner or significant other or something like that, other than husband or wife. So once you decide on what is appropriate to be called individually that signifes same sex relationships...that is what you should call your "marriage". Just call it something more appropriate that will work in the business and personal community and I am all for your right to enjoy your life style as others do theirs.

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