Proceedings in Darby vs. Orr, a lawsuit filed on behalf of local couples seeking the right to marry, have been stayed until June 2, 2014, the day after same-sex marriages will be permitted in Illinois.
Attorneys for Lambda Legal and ACLU Illinois, who represent the plaintiffs, long contended that the suit would be dropped should legislation allowing same-sex marriage be approved. But shortly after the passage of SB10 on Nov. 5, they began weighing the options of not moving to have the lawsuit immediately dismissed, since their clients were essentially still being harmed until June 1, they said.
The stay, ordered Nov. 14 by Cook County Judge Sophia Hall, means that nothing more will likely happen in the proceedings, and the plaintiffs will move to dismiss the lawsuit as moot June 2.
Hall asked why the suit would not be dropped sooner, especially since Gov. Quinn would be signing SB10 on Nov. 20. But John Knight of ACLU Illinois said that waiting until the effective date of the bill was "the best way to protect our clients."
The defendants in the lawsuit were five downstate county clerk's offices who were represented by the Thomas More Society, a conservative law firm. They had asked for a more immediate dismissal, but the plaintiffs would only agree to the stay. In a Nov. 14 statement, Thomas More President and Chief Counsel Tom Brejcha said the ruling and expected dismissal would nevertheless "not end all litigation involving same-sex marriage issues" in the state.
But Camilla Taylor of Lambda Legal said the plaintiffs' attorneys, in the meantime, would continue to consult with their clients and "see what their needs are" in the days leading up to the effective date for same-sex marriages.
"They've been waiting a very long time and sacrificed a lot to be part of this struggle," she added. "They've really put themselves out there as part of this lawsuit."