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Court rejects bid by anti-gay groups to join IL marriage case
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times

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Three anti-gay institutions will not be allowed to intervene against lawsuits that seek same-sex marriage in Illinois, Lambda Legal has announced.

The Cook County Circuit Court has rejected the requests of Illinois Family Institute (IFI), the Church of Christian Liberty and Grace-Gospel Fellowship church to intervene in the cases.

Tazewell County Clerk Christie Webb and Effingham County Clerk Kerry Hirtzel are already intervening to fight the lawsuits after Cook County Clerk David Orr, named in the suits, called the ban "unconstitutional" and refused to defend it. The clerks are represented by the Thomas More Society.

IFI and the churches had argued that they had a vested interest in the cases, filed by Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. IFI had said its interest rested in the fact that it had dedicated significant resources and energy to fighting same-sex marriage in the state. The churches said that overturning the ban would force them to perform same-sex marriages because the Illinois Human Rights Act mandates equal access to public accommodations.

But attorneys for the 25 couples suing for the right to marry countered that none of the three had a direct interest in the cases and that allowing them into the arena would unnecessarily slow the legal process.

Lambda Legal announced court's rejection of the petition to intervene Nov. 30.

"We are now closer to the day these families can tell their stories in court, and explain in their own words why it is so hurtful and wrong to exclude them and their children ever from belonging to married families, without further unnecessary delays," said Camilla Taylor, marriage project director for Lambda Legal, in a statement.

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