Illinois Marriage Lawsuit in the News

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May 30, 2012

Updated 2:20 p.m. ET.

There's plenty of early buzz on Lambda Legal's lawsuit seeking marriage equality in Illinois—some of it coming from as far as Canada and the U.K.

The Associated Press:

The two lawsuits—backed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and the New York-based gay advocacy group Lambda Legal—include couples from the Chicago area, Bloomington and Marion. Both challenge a state law that defines marriage as between a man and woman, arguing that the Illinois Constitution guarantees the right for same-sex couples to marry under due process and equality clauses.


Lambda Legal’s lawsuit includes Janean Watkins and Lakeesha Harris, who were the first couple in line last year to get a civil union license from Cook County. They have been together for a dozen years and are raising six children, who are the reason Watkins wants to be married.

"We have the kids, it’s important for them to see that the relationship we’re in is validated by the state," she said.

Lambda Legal Marriage Project Director Camilla Taylor tells the Chicago Tribune:

"We feel like we're at a tipping point. You reach a point where you can no longer tell these families that they should hold off. You lack the justification when we reach a national moment, when it's clear that our time is now."

The Windy City Times:

Humboldt Park couple Angelica Lopez and Claudia Mercado keep documentation of their family in their car at all times, in the event that they cross state lines into Indiana to barbecue with friends. Their glove compartment contains birth certificates for their two children, adoption decrees showing that both of them are legal parents, their civil union certificate and power of attorney documentation for each other.

Even still, they concede that having a civil union is not a guarantee that their relationship will be recognized.

"It's really confusing for a lot of people," said Mercado. "What is a union?"

Because their second child was born after their civil union, both Mercado and Lopez are legally his parents in Illinois. However, Mercado completed a second-parent adoption for him to ensure she would be a recognized parent in other states. When they went to pick up the birth certificate, only Lopez, the birth mother, was allowed to pick up the certificate.

"Here I am standing in line, watching my partner sit by the person who instructed us that only one of us has to go," said Lopez.

See also the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicagoist, the Los Angeles Times and Chicago public radio station WBEZ.

Earlier: "Marriage in Illinois—It's Just Time"