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Federal Judge Orders Early Same-Sex Marriage License For Dying Same-Sex Partner

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(CBS) – Following a judge’s order, Cook County Clerk David Orr granted a marriage license to two women, one of whom is likely to die before Illinois’ same-sex marriage law takes effect next June.

Vernita Gray has cancer that has spread to her bones and brain and probably will not live to marry her longtime partner Patricia Ewert if she is forced to wait, according to a news release announcing U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin’s ruling Monday afternoon.

“Vernita is terminally ill and she wishes to marry the woman she loves before she dies—and now she won’t have to wait another day,” said Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal, one of the organizations that brought the case on an emergency basis.  “These two women, who have loved and cared for each other in good times and bad, through sickness and through health, will get to know what it means to be married.”

Orr, a supporter of same-sex marriage, says he is glad to oblige the judge’s order. His office delivered the license to the couple last night.

“My office will comply with the judge’s orders and expedite a marriage license to this couple – a service already granted to heterosexual couples in similar situations,” he said in a news release.

Gov. Pat Quinn last week signed legislation that legalizes same-sex marriage in Illinois.

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