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Illinois marks five years of marriage equality
2018-11-27

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Five years ago—on Nov. 20, 2013—Illinois became the 16th state to legalize same-sex marriage when marriage equality legislation was signed into law.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic ruling requiring all states to issue same-sex marriage licenses on June 26, 2015.

State Sen. Heather Steans ( D-Chicago ), who co-sponsored the legislation, said in an Illinois General Assembly press release, "We took an important step five years ago. We must ensure we do not lose ground and in fact make progress in the fight for full, equal rights for same-sex couples."

Although the law did not take effect until June 1, 2014, Chicago couple Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert made history Nov. 27, 2013, when they became the first same-sex couple to be married in Illinois. The women—well-known LGBT-rights activists— were granted an expedited marriage license because Gray was living with terminal breast cancer, and her last wish was to marry her longtime partner. Gray died March 19, 2014, less than three months before the law took effect.

Since then, Cook County has recorded more than 10,000 same-sex marriage licenses.


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