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Judge: Legal challenge of same-sex marriage ban can proceed



CamillTaylor attorney with LambdLegal | Sun-Times

Camilla Taylor, attorney with Lambda Legal | Sun-Times

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Updated: October 29, 2013 6:06AM

A Cook County judge on Friday refused to dismiss two significant claims in a lawsuit that challenges Illinois’ ban on same-sex marriage.

In a 20-page opinion, Judge Sophia H. Hall ruled that two of five claims in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and Lambda Legal could go forward. Hall dismissed three of the counts.

Hall would not dismiss questions over the constitutionality of Illinois’ marriage law based on discrimination for sexual orientation and a claim that there is fundamental right to marry.

“This court finds that plaintiffs have presented sufficient facts to warrant further consideration of the question of whether their fundamental right to marry in Illinois includes the right to choose to marry a partner of the same sex,” Hall’s opinion states.

One of the plaintiffs in the case, Patrick Bova, 75, who said he has faced a steady stream of challenges throughout his life, considered the judge’s ruling the beginning of good things. Bova has been with James Darby, 81 for the last five decades and wants to be married in Illinois.

“It’s a validation of our claims. You have to remember we’ve been gay all of our lives, and this is just one of the latest chapters in the things that we have had to deal with,” Bova said outside of court. “We want it for love. After all, we’ve been faithful to each other for 50 years.”

While Bova and Darby consider the ban on same-sex marriage a violation of their civil rights, there remains vocal opposition to allowing lesbian and gay couples from marrying in Illinois. Those opposing same-sex marriage said they believe the courts will ultimately side with them, upholding Illinois’ definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

“In our view, it’s a matter for the General Assembly to decide. Obviously, they have it before them now,” said Thomas More Society special counsel Paul Linton, who serves as one of the special assistant state’s attorneys for five intervening county clerks. “In our view, two of the principle purposes of preserving marriage as an institution between a man and woman . . . It advances the interest in the procreation of children and providing a stable . . . environment for children to be raised.”

Darby took issue with that statement noting: “There are straight people who get married who choose for whatever reason to not have children. Marriage does not necessarily produce children. Marriage is for love.”

Camilla Taylor, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs in the lawsuits said should the state Legislature advance same-sex marriage legislation — only the Illinois Senate has passed the measure — same-sex couples would drop their lawsuit.

The Illinois House ended its session without calling the same-sex marriage bill for a vote, despite dozens of couples who flooded the chamber in its closing days, asking that it be called.

Cook County Clerk David Orr supports same-sex couples and their lawsuit but urged Springfield to take action.

“I think the Legislature has to ‘man up’ so to speak and pass this,” Orr said.


Twitter: @natashakorecki

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