Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2016-12-07
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

ACLU, Lambda file for marriage in Illinois
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2012-05-30

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Representing 25 couples throughout the state, Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union ( ACLU ) of Illinois have filed two separate but coordinated lawsuits against Cook County aimed at winning marriage equality in Illinois.

"We cannot justify waiting any longer," said Camilla Taylor, national marriage project director of Lambda Legal.

[ See related story, ACLU, Lambda file for marriage in Illinois, at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/ACLU-Lambda-file-for-marriage-in-Illinois/37883.html. ]

The May 30 lawsuits, filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County names Cook County Clerk David Orr ( Orr has personally been supportive of LGBT rights for years ) .

In both lawsuits plaintiffs argue that civil unions, which began in Illinois almost a year ago to the day, have failed to deliver on the promise of equality both practically and symbolically.

"When you're a kid, you don't dream about growing up to get a civil union," said Richard Rykhus, a plaintiff in the ACLU suit. "You dream about getting married."

Rykhus and his partner, Carlos Briones, have been together 11 years. The two were married in Canada in September 2005 and are raising a son together. But in Illinois, their marriage translates to a civil union, a status they struggle to explain to their seven year-old, Ty.

"It's important for him to know that this family is as important as any other," Briones said.

Briones and Rykhus are one of nine couples represented in the ACLU suit, which opens with plaintiff stories.

John Knight, ACLU LGBT project director, argued that civil unions have had a year to work but have failed to grant the same benefits and protections promised to LGBT families as marriage. Many civil-union couples have had to prove their status to hospitals and other agencies with paperwork, a burden not placed on married couples, Knight said.

"There's just no other way to meet the constitutional requirements," he said.

An additional 16 couples are represented by Lambda Legal, 15 of whom already have civil unions. The couples all attempted to obtain marriage licenses from the Cook County Clerk but were denied. The lead plaintiffs in that case are Jim Darby and Patrick Bova, longtime activists for LGBT veterans' rights.

The case hinges on the assertion that everyone has a right to marry the person that they love and that denying same-sex couples marriage rights deprives them of equal treatment under the law.

"Civil unions brand these couples as worth less than other families, and children feel that," said Taylor.

Taylor added that for many families, the symbolic significance of having a civil union is not on par with marriage.

The couples say that civil unions also fall short in practical ways.

Humboldt Park couple Angelica Lopez and Claudia Mercado keep documentation of their family in their car at all times, in the event that they cross state lines into Indiana to barbecue with friends. Their glove compartment contains birth certificates for their two children, adoption decrees showing that both of them are legal parents, their civil union certificate and power of attorney documentation for each other.

Even still, they concede that having a civil union is not a guarantee that their relationship will be recognized.

"It's really confusing for a lot of people," said Mercado. "What is a union?"

Because their second child was born after their civil union, both Mercado and Lopez are legally his parents in Illinois. However, Mercado completed a second-parent adoption for him to ensure she would be a recognized parent in other states. When they went to pick up the birth certificate, only Lopez, the birth mother, was allowed to pick up the certificate.

"Here I am standing in line, watching my partner sit by the person who instructed us that only one of us has to go," said Lopez.

Marriage equality activists have long argued that civil unions set up a "separate but equal" dynamic, in which same-sex couples are denied marriage simply for the sake of setting them apart from heterosexual couples.

Since civil unions went into effect last June, Windy City Times has documented several instances where government entities, hospitals, organizations and employers either failed or struggled to react accordingly to the new unions. The Illinois Department of Revenue initially announced that same-sex spouses would not be able to file joint state tax returns, but later reversed that decision amid protest from LGBT advocates.

Openly gay state representatives introduced a marriage-equality bill to the General Assembly earlier this year, but that measure failed to move.

Both the ACLU and Lambda Legal say that same-sex couples cannot wait any longer.

"We've always said that civil unions were not the end that we were fighting for," said Knight. "We've been talking about this for a long time, but we thought it was important to give civil unions a chance to work."

According to Taylor, the Lambda suit is more than a decade in the making.

Lambda has sued in other states for marriage equality in recent years including in Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Hawaii, California and Washington.

The Illinois suits seek both marriage certificates for the plaintiff couples as well as a statewide ruling that would allow couples to marry.

While the suits are directed at the Cook County Clerk, their success would presumably set a precedent for the entire state, Taylor said.

The Cook County clerk's office has been the target of an untold number of marriage equality protests over the years, but current Clerk David Orr has also been a longtime supporter of LGBT rights. In an interview last year with Windy City Times, Orr said he had a very difficult time not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples who asked, sometimes to the point where he wanted to protest with them.

"It was a drag," he said. "And the only thing that really keeps you going is the hope that things will get better."

Here is a list of couples from both complaints:

ACLU:

Tanya Lazaro and Elizabeth "Liz" Mato, Chicago

Lynn Sprout and Kathie Spegal, Champaign

Ross "Randy" Walden and Robert "Bob" Carey, Springfield

Michelle Mascaro and Corynne Romine

Tim Kee and Rick Wade, Marion

Carlos Briones and Richard Rykhus, Evanston

Suzanna Hutton and Danielle Cook, Bloomington

Kirsten and Tanya Lyonsford, Aurora

Ed Hamilton and Gary Magruder, Plainfield

Lambda Legal:

Jim Darby and Patrick Bova, Chicago

Daphne Scott-Henderson and Ryan Cannon, Bloomington

Michelle Chappell and Michelle Franke, Champaign

Daryl Rizzo and Jaime Garcia, Chicago

Lynne Burnett and Robyne O'Mara, Godfrey

Patricia Garcia and Julie Barton, Evanston

Bert Morton and Lee Korty, Springfield

Theresa Volpe and Mercedes Santos, Chicago

Robert Hickok and Brian Fletcher, Oak Park

Peggy Burton and Donna O'Crowly, Bloomington

Lakeesha Harris and Janean Watkins, Chicago

Angelica Lopez and Claudia Mercado, Chicago

Tim Rice and Don Julian, Alto Pass

Anne Dickey and Laura Hartman, Rock Island

Brandon and Kevin Bowersox-Johnson, Urbana

Bob Proctor and Hector Martinez, Peoria


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

No bones about love: A surprise engagement 2016-12-07 - On March 13, 2015, Bethany Minor proposed marriage to Alissa Pagels and she said "yes." On March 13, 2016, Pagels asked Minor the ...


Gay News

World news: India's pride, Romanian court, Prince Harry/Rihanna 2016-12-06 - Thousands of people took to the streets of New Delhi to celebrate India's LGBT community on Nov. 27, The Wall Street Journal reported. ...


Gay News

Record number of top U.S. companies embracing inclusive policies for LGBTQs 2016-12-06 - WASHINGTON - The nation's major companies and law firms are advancing in record numbers vital policies and practices to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, ...


Gay News

ACLU, LGBT groups call on Obama to grant clemency to Chelsea Manning 2016-12-05 - WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union and over a dozen LGBT groups sent a letter to President Barack Obama today urging the ...


Gay News

Illinois companies run gamut in HRC's corporate index 2016-12-05 - The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation released the 2017 Corporate Equality Index, an annual report assessing LGBT inclusion in major companies ...


Gay News

Class settlement proposed on health benefits for Walmart same-sex spouses 2016-12-01 - BOSTON, Dec. 2, 2016 — Former Walmart associate Jacqueline Cote and her lawyers filed a motion today asking the U.S. District Court for ...


Gay News

Bar associations respond to increase in hate-motivated violence, harassment 2016-12-01 - Statement of the Hispanic National Bar Association ( HNBA ), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association ( NAPABA ), the National Association ...


Gay News

New Report Examines Discriminatory State HIV Criminalization Laws 2016-12-01 - Report released on World AIDS Day highlights how these outdated laws perpetuate dangerous misinformation and aren't based in fact or modern science ...


Gay News

Relationships & the Law Today: Supreme Court looks at transgender bathroom policies 2016-11-30 - A transgender boy banned from using the boys' restroom at his high school sued his county school board alleging that it impermissibly discriminated ...


Gay News

'San Antonio Four' exonerated 2016-11-30 - The highest court in Texas has exonerated the so-called "San Antonio Four." Elizabeth Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh, Cassandra Rivera and Anna Vasquez were convicted ...


 



Copyright © 2016 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.

www.windycitymediagroup.com
[email protected]  •  [email protected]  •  [email protected]

Website Powered by LoveYourWebsite.com