Family Law

Terminally ill woman to be issued same-sex marriage license early by judge's order


A new Illinois law allowing same-sex couples to marry won’t take effect until June 1.

But Vernita Gray is set to marry Patricia Ewert before the end of the month, after a federal judge ordered Cook County Clerk David Orr to issue a marriage license to the Chicago couple, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Gray, who is suffering from terminal cancer, could die at any time, according to a lawsuit the couple filed a week ago with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal. The court order by U.S. District Judge Thomas Dirkin was filed Monday. Orr had a marriage license hand-delivered to the couple at their home later the same day.

“As a supporter of same-sex marriage, I’m pleased Judge Durkin granted relief to Patricia Ewert and Vernita Gray in this difficult time,” he said in a written statement provided to the newspaper.

The story made international headlines; Australia’s news.com.au notes that the couple met at an event at the Cook County State’s Atttorney’s office. Gray has been a victim advocate in the county court system and Ewert works for State Rep. Kelly Cassidy. Gray and Ewert previously entered into a civil union together, as Illinois law already allows.

ABC News and NBC Chicago also have stories.

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