More Coverage of Illinois Marriage Lawsuit

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May 31, 2012
Plaintiff couple James Darby and Patrick Bova

Lambda Legal's lawsuit seeking marriage for Illinois same-sex couples continues to draw the media's attention. Here's a sampling of today's coverage.

The New York Times:

The lawsuits ... aim to strike down a statewide law limiting marriage to a man and woman. Both were filed in state court against the Cook County clerk, David Orr, whose office issues marriage licenses in the Chicago area.


Exactly how the fight will play out is unclear. A spokesman for the Cook County state’s attorney office, which is generally responsible for defending the county clerk, declined to comment.

Mr. Orr, however, cheered on the lawsuits against him, while acknowledging that his hands are tied by state law. “I hope this lawsuit clears the last hurdle to achieving equal marriage rights for all,” he said in a statement.

University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey R. Stone writes in a Chicago Tribune op-ed:

In addressing the fundamental constitutional issues posed by these lawsuits, our Illinois judges ... must not defer to the vagaries of the political process. If they conclude that it is unconstitutional for the state of Illinois to deny its gay and lesbian citizens the freedom to marry, then it is their constitutional responsibility to so rule.

The Champaign-Urbana, Ill., News-Gazette features one of our plaintiff couples:

Urbana City Council member Brandon Bowersox-Johnson and his partner, Kevin Bowersox-Johnson, are among three Champaign-Urbana couples hoping their participation in lawsuits filed Wednesday will lead to legalized same-sex marriage in the state of Illinois.


Brandon and Kevin Bowersox-Johnson have been together for 10 years, and got a civil union last summer when they became permitted in Illinois. But civil unions are not enough, they said.

"We find ourselves constantly explaining what a civil union is," said Brandon Bowersox-Johnson.

That includes on school forms for their 5-year-old son and explaining their relationship to doctors and nurses.

"If you have to always explain yourself, that's not equal," Brandon Bowersox-Johnson said.

Meet all our plaintiff couples and their families.

The Huffington Post highlighted another one of our plaintiff couples:

When Theresa Volpe and Mercedes Santos sought a marriage license in Illinois earlier this month, the Cook County Clerk's Office worker suggested a civil union instead, the women recalled. But Volpe and Santos already had one. Then, the clerk turned to a colleague. "They want an upgrade," she said.

The clerk's words hit home for Volpe and Santos, who have been together for 20 years, but cannot marry because of an Illinois law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. "It really emphasized the fact that we got the downgraded version," Santos said.

See also the Alton Daily News, Keen News Service, Courthouse News Service and

Earlier coverage here and here.