Story Summary

Illinois Gay Marriage Bill

Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, making Illinois the 16th state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act passed both houses of the state’s General Assembly earlier this month.

The measure will go into effect June 14, 2014.

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A federal judge has just ruled that same-sex couples don’t have to wait until June to get married in Cook County.

gaymarriageU.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman say, “There is no reason to delay further when no opposition has been presented to this court.” The ruling appears to only affect same-sex marriages in Cook County.

Following the ruling, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued the following statement:

“Today a federal judge affirmed that love does not discriminate and that all gays and lesbians in Cook County should have the right to marry. Chicago welcomes all couples to get married here to celebrate their love and to have the bonds of their family acknowledged under law. I look forward to the day where every American enjoys the same freedom to marry, and when our country can provide equal rights to every man or woman – gay or straight. “

Many couples rushed to be the first in line Friday. Any wedding day can be stressful—but just think about making history while you do it.

“It’s just overwhelming, really exciting and wonderful and a historic fantastic day.”

Originally we weren’t going to start seeing this until June, that’s when the same sex marriage bill signed by Governor Quinn was supposed to go into effect but

Like any marriage or wedding things don’t always go as planned.

Once engaged couple David Wilk and Charlie Gurion saw the news on facebook– they wasted no time getting down here to get their license– they were not expecting to make history.

“Actually we have our wedding in September– apparently we are going to push that up”

Carolyn and Sara Kujawa also sped up their wedding timeline on the spur of the moment.

“She was in the bank and I was in the car with him and I saw it on the Tribune and I said let’s go—we were down here so parked and let’s go do it.”

The couple that got the same sex marriage law going in Illinois also made an appearance at the Daley Center Friday.

After a domestic partnership and civil union, they wanted to be married in the eyes of the state.  Once they had their license they had one more hurdle to jump the 24 hour waiting period.

“I hereby waive the hour period and this couple can get married in the County of Cook.”

And with their family watching they said their vows.

“I now pronounce that you are married.”

It is official: Same-sex marriage will be legal in Illinois as of June 1.

In the words of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, there is no longer straight or gay marriage, there is only marriage in Illinois.

They are words that resonated with 3,000 or so people crowding the University of Illinois at Chicago forum Wednesday afternoon. They wanted to witness history in the making for themselves.

Gov. Pat Quinn made history Wednesday when  he signed Senate Bill 10, legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois. He signed the document on the same desk Abraham Lincoln used to write his first inaugural address.

“In the very beginning of the Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln of Illinois said that our nation was conceived in liberty. And he said it’s dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, and that’s really what we’re celebrating today,” he said. “It’s a triumph of democracy.”

The Democrat running for re-election had rock star status Wednesday. His captive audience heaped praise on the deed no politician before him has been able to do — or wanted to do. He and State Rep. Greg Harris received numerous standing ovations. Harris sponsored the bill.

The 45-minute ceremony was filled with a lot of pomp and circumstance — it was a bill signing after all. But it was full of heart, emotion and gratitude. Politicians of Illinois each took their turn to articulate the meaning of this bill to them.

“As a history teacher, I firmly believe that marriage equality is the civil rights issue of our time,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

“History, I think, will show that we got it right on this one,” said Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. “And I just want to end by noting that I’m available to be a flower girl and I’ll even waive the fee!”

But two men stole the show: Jim Darby and his partner of more than 50 years, Patrick Bova. They want to be buried together at Arlington National Cemetary. Bova is a Korean War veteran. They want to live as a couple recognized by the state and even their own families. They want to celebrate the rest of their lives together as a couple. And this ceremony says they can.

“Today is the day when we can look back on our five decades together and say ‘We can finally be newlyweds,’” Darby said.

The signing of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act took place at UIC of all places, because –for the past 2 years–the school has been ranked among the top 25 when it comes to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. the president himself saying diversity is central to its mission.

For the second time in two weeks, a champagne toast for marriage equality.

For some who have been together for a long time, it’s monumental.

A man named Andrew was at the bill signing ceremony Wednesday.  He stood for hours and cried when the governor put pen to paper.

“I never thought I’d see this day,” he said.

Many at Sidetrack in Lakeview Wednesday night thought the same thing. Now they have weddings to plan. Since the bill passed, five weddings have been booked here.

This day also means so much to gay couples with families.  Children who will grow up knowing their parents have a union that’s legal just like other families.

Peter Breen with the Thomas More Society does not think the gay marriage bill is in the best interest of Illinios. He talked to WGN.

Jim Darby and his partner spoke out at the signing of the Illinois gay marriage bill.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel talks about the signing of the same-sex marraige bill in Illinois

At the signing of the Illinois same-sex marriage bill, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka offers to be flower girl for all the upcoming weddings.

Illinois is about to become the 16th state to legalize gay marriage.

It started when the state legislature passed the marriage equality bill on November 5.

Today, more than 3,000 people are expected to witness Governor Quinn signing it into law at the UIC forum.

Illinois has had civil unions for about three years.

But after June first, gay couples can earn the benefits of being legally married.

The gay marriage bill is expected to be a boost for the wedding industry.

Researchers estimate gay marriages could bring $103 million to the state over the next three years.

State Representative Greg Harris is the main sponsor of the gay marriage bill and joins WGN Morning News to talk about it becoming a law today

History will be made tomorrow when Governor Pat Quinn signs the same-sex marriage bill into law.

Illinois will become the 16th state to extend marriage rights to same sex couples.

The road to this point was years in the making, but the challenges to the law itself still exist.

WGN’s Sean Lewis has a look at what it took to get to this moment and beyond.