Second Illinois County Begins Issuing Marriage Licenses To Same-Sex Couples

Feb 26, 2014

Champaign County issued its first marriage license to a same-sex couple Wednesday, the second county in Illinois to do so.  Laura and Marissa Meli are University of Illinois law students who've been a couple for eight years. 

Marissa Meli, 28, and Laura Meli, 27, have been in a relationship for more than eight years, and on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 became the first same-sex couple outside of Cook County to get a marriage license.
Credit Sean Powers / WILL

 A judge ruled Friday that a statute banning same-sex marriage in the state was unconstitutional.  The ruling only applied to Cook County. The county began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples the same day.  After a review process with the Champaign County State’s Attorney…  Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten says he decided that same-sex couples in his county can immediately seek marriage licenses, rather than waiting until a new law allowing them takes effect June 1: 

“We determined for a number of reasons once the federal courts ruled that the state ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional in Cook County … that means it’s unconstitutional for the entire state.  That the residents of Champaign County don’t have any fewer constitutional rights than those in Cook County… and that it would be a disservice to require same-sex couples in Champaign County to go through the litigation process.”

 A number of other Illinois counties say they will wait on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the new state law takes effect. UPDATE 2/26 5:47pm:  Republican McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael says she hopes to be issuing licenses by the middle of next week.


It’s legal, if there’s an illness, to be granted a marriage license of same-sex, now. Why would it be delayed ‘till June First, when there are exceptions that are already being made?