Same sex couples marry in Cook County

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People began lining up for marriage licenses within an hour of a judge’s ruling Friday that same sex couples in Cook County do not have to wait until June to marry.

One couple even got married by Clerk David Orr, who chose not to fight a lawsuit that sought to scrap the June effective date of Illinois’ same sex marriage law.

For now, the ruling by U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman applies only to Cook County. In her decision, Coleman wrote that “there is no reason to delay further when no opposition has been presented to this Court and committed gay and lesbian couples have already suffered from the denial of their fundamental right to marry.”

By Friday afternoon, Theresa Volpe and Mercedes Santos were getting married in Orr’s office.
Flanked by their 9-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son and holding rose bouquets from Orr, the couple reflected on the day for reporters. “Marriage for us is about family,” said Santos, 48. “There is no right or wrong as far as who gets married.”

Charlie Gurion, 25, heard about the ruling on Facebook and was at the courthouse by 12:30 p.m. with his fiancé David Wilk, 30, who left work to get their license.
“My heart is beating so fast,” Wilk said. “This is amazing.”

Orr said he will keep the downtown Bureau of Vital Records, in the lower level of the Daley Center, open an extra two hours tonight – until 7 p.m. – to accommodate any couples who want to get a license after work.

Only the downtown office will issue same-sex marriage licenses on Friday. All offices will begin issuing licenses on Monday, he said.
Orr said the office looks forward to long lines but he was not sure how many to expect. Extra staff will be brought in to cover the longer hours today.

Marriage licenses take effect the next calender day and are valid for 60 days.  “Don’t rush to get your license if you have a summer wedding planned because you don’t want the license to expire before your big day,” Orr cautioned.

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