Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a motion to intervene in support of 25 same-sex couples who have sued for the right to marry in Illinois.
The attorney general will intervene in two separate lawsuits filed by Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, aimed at winning marriage equality in the state.
The suits were filed May 30 against Cook County Clerk David Orr in his official capacity ( Orr personally supports marriage equality and the lawsuits ) . Plaintiff couples have alleged that civil unions, which began a year ago, have failed to provide same-sex couples with the same rights gained through marriage.
In the motion, filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County Chancery Division, the attorney general asks "to present the Court with arguments that explain why the challenged statutory provisions do not satisfy the guarantee of equality under the Illinois Constitution."
While both lawsuits target Cook County, they challenge the constitutionality of state law that prohibits same-sex marriage. As such, the attorney general, representing the state, can weigh in on them.
"It's no surprise that Attorney General Lisa Madigan, responsible for assessing the state's position on the constitutionality of its various laws, would find the marriage ban indefensible," said Camilla Taylor, national marriage project director for Lambda Legal, in a statement. "The marriage ban targets same-sex couples and their children for discriminatory treatment. Illinois elected officials at every level of state and federal government have come to the same conclusion that we have — that the marriage ban harms these families, and that it's just time to end this discriminatory chapter of our history."
It remains unclear how the Cook County State's Attorney's office will handle the cases. A spokesperson from that office declined to comment on the lawsuits.