A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [official website] on Friday ruled that same-sex couples in Cook County may be issued marriage licenses immediately rather than having to wait for the effective date of Illinois' same-sex marriage law [text, PDF] in June. After US District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman's ruling, which only applies to Cook County, Cook County Clerk David Orr [official website] announced [press release] that marriage licenses would begin to be issued immediately at the downtown Bureau of Vital Records and that they would be available at all offices starting Monday. Marriage licenses are valid for 60 days, and the $60 license fee will be waived for couples already in possession of an Illinois civil union license. Coleman's order did not address [Chicago Tribune report] converting prior civil union dates to marriages, however, so couples wishing to do so will have to wait until June.
In November a judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ordered [JURIST report] the Cook County Clerk to immediately issue a marriage license to same-sex couple Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert, who had petitioned for an immediate marriage license due to Gray's battle with terminal breast cancer. Issues surrounding same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] remain controversial throughout the US. Recently several state attorney generals have declined to defend [JURIST report] their states' same-sex marriage bans. Last week the Indiana Senate approved a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would prohibit same-sex marriage in the state [JURIST report]. If given final legislative approval the measure will go before voters in 2016.