CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today released the following statement on the federal court ruling that true marriage equality for thousands of couples in Illinois will arrive several months early. Under the ruling, all couples who are married in Cook County will receive the rights and protections of marriage effective immediately, rather than having to wait until June 1, the initial effective date of historic legislation. Governor Quinn signed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act on Nov. 20, fulfilling his 2013 State of the State commitment to ensure that Illinois embraces all people.
“Many couples in Illinois have waited long enough for marriage equality, and today’s ruling means thousands of Illinois couples no longer have to wait.
“Our law is a victory for equal rights in America, and shows that citizens and lawmakers can come together on issues of fairness and human rights.
“I applaud U.S. District Court Judge Sharon J. Coleman for her stance in recognizing that ‘there is no reason to delay further’ giving all couples the right to marry in Cook County.
“Every county across the state should enjoy the same freedom without having to wait until June.”
Governor Quinn pushed for marriage equality throughout the 2013 legislative session. In 2011, the Governor signed into law historic civil union legislation. Since then, more than 6,000 couples from across Illinois have joined in a civil union. Prior to the Governor’s efforts, same-sex couples in Illinois had been denied many rights enjoyed by couples who are married.
Governor Quinn signed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act on Nov. 20 at the UIC Forum in Chicago in front of a crowd of thousands. The legislation made Illinois the 16th state in the nation to embrace full marriage equality.