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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

By Michelle Manchir, Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Gay couples in Cook County won’t have to wait until June to marry, under a ruling Friday by a federal judge in Chicago that scraps the delayed effective date of Illinois’ same sex marriage law.

“There is no reason to delay further when no opposition has been presented to this Court and committed gay and lesbian couples have already suffered from the denial of their fundamental right to marry,” U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman stated.

Her ruling noted that Cook County Clerk David Orr filed a brief in support of the lawsuit, which argued that couples should not have to wait until the Illinois law went into effect on June 1.

Orr released a statement after the ruling saying he will begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses “immediately.”

“I’m thrilled same-sex couples who want to get married won’t have to wait any longer” Orr said. “We are very excited to celebrate this historic milestone with every loving couple from today onward.”

Orr said he will keep the downtown Bureau of Vital Records, in the lower level of the Daley Center, open an extra two hours Friday night — until 7 p.m. — to accommodate any couples who want to get a license after work.

Only the downtown office will issue same-sex marriage licenses on Friday. All offices will begin issuing licenses on Monday, he said.

Marriage licenses are valid for 60 days. “Don’t rush to get your license if you have a summer wedding planned because you don’t want the license to expire before your big day,” Orr said.

The $60 license fee will be waived for any couple who already has an Illinois civil union license. Couples who wish to convert their prior civil union date to a marriage will have to wait until June 1 because it was not addressed in Coleman’s order, Orr said.