CHICAGO (AP) — Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Tuesday told an Illinois county clerk that he and others around the state have the right to immediately issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Madigan issued the guidance in response to a question from Macon County Clerk Stephen Bean, who questioned the legal effect of the ruling in Lee v. Orr on Feb. 21 by a federal judge in Chicago. Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman determined Illinois’ original ban was unconstitutional. A state law legalizing same-sex marriage takes effect June 1, but the ruling by the federal court means there’s nothing to stop couples from marrying now.
Coleman said the ruling only applied to Cook County because it challenged the practices of that county’s clerk, David Orr. However, in a letter to Bean, Madigan said because current restrictions on gay marriage are unconstitutional, same-sex couples asking for a marriage license in any county can be given one.