The gay rights group Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois each filed a lawsuit today against the clerk of Cook County, claiming that not issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the Illinois Constitution.
Activists say they will continue to press lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage. But these lawsuits mean that the judicial system, and possibly the Illinois Supreme Court, will play a role as well.
"We always thought this was something that had to happen," said ACLU attorney John Knight. "We think it's time to try in the courts, and we're optimistic about our chances."
"We feel like we're at a tipping point," said Camilla Taylor, a Lambda Legal attorney who headed up a similar case that led to the legalization of gay marriage in Iowa. "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."
Along with the filing of the lawsuit, the ACLU and LAMBDA have each launched their own video PSAs to remind the great people of Illinois what we're fighting for.