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*** UPDATED x1 *** This just in… Champaign County Clerk’s office to issue same sex marriage licenses

Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014

* 8:26 am - From a press release…

Same-Sex Marriage In Champaign County

URBANA, IL – Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten today issued the following statement on same-sex marriage in Champaign County:

“On Friday, federal judge Sharon Johnson Coleman held that the Illinois statute banning marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional and violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The Illinois Attorney General and the Cook County Clerk were parties to the suit. The precise effect of the ruling on other Illinois counties is unclear. However, after consulting with State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, I have come to the conclusion that the rationale of the case applies to all citizens of Illinois and that Champaign County residents should have no fewer Constitutional rights than those in Cook County. Furthermore, given the ruling, denying a license to a same sex couple would provide no benefit to the County and would likely result in litigation at taxpayer expense.

“Therefore, effective immediately, the Champaign County Clerk’s office will issue marriage licenses to same sex applicants, in accordance with the 14th Amendment, and the Illinois and United States Constitutions.”

Gordy is a Republican, by the way.

*** UPDATE *** Equality Illinois is urging other county clerks to start issuing licenses and is encouraging Downstaters to travel to Champaign County for marriage licenses. From a press release…

“Clerk Hulten recognized both the humanity of helping gay and lesbian couples to fulfill their dreams and the legal soundness of following the decision of a federal court that denying marriage licenses was unconstitutional,” said Berrnard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois.

“It is simply time for the other county clerks to follow suit,” Cherkasov added. “As we saw in the immediate rush to the Cook County Clerk’s marriage bureau after Friday’s ruling, gay and lesbian couples are eager and ready to take the step that not only grants them and their family the legal benefits and rights of marriage but also bestows society’s recognition that their love is equal.”

It is also significant that the licenses are now available in a Central Illinois county, which is within easy driving distance of not only Champaign-Urbana but also Peoria, Decatur, Springfield, Bloomington-Normal and Danville for couples and their families. “While we were thrilled with Friday’s ruling that applied to Cook County, this is a major step that instantly spreads marriage equality to another major region of the state,” Cherkasov said. “We are working with more county clerks to help them step up.”

The Champaign County Clerk’s office is at 1776 E. Washington Street, Urbana, Illinois. The website is

With the swiftness of the ruling and its immediate effectiveness, there are many questions about implementation of the law. The Equality Illinois guide Marriage Rights in Illinois helps answer them. It can be read and downloaded here:

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Roadiepig - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 8:28 am:

    Good. Nothing else needs said IMHO

  2. - chad - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 8:31 am:

    And, a good move is Hulten is looking to move-up the political food chain.

  3. - countyline - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 8:31 am:

    So much for laws…

  4. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 8:33 am:

    “The time is always right to do the right thing.” - MLK, Jr.

  5. - Nonplussed - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 8:38 am:

    Countyline: same-sex marriage is the law. Moving up the effective date in purely ministerial.

  6. - countyline - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 8:43 am:

    So is CCW, but I’m sure Chicago would throw a fit if that were moved up.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 8:45 am:

    - countyline -,

    Get a court ruling, and then you will be in business. That appears to be the difference.

  8. - Robo - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 8:53 am:

    What’s all this fuss I hear about Some Sex Marriage? Oh…that’s different…nevermind.

    Homage to Emily Latella

  9. - Nonplussed - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 8:53 am:

    Not really. You need new infrasturcture to do concealed carry. Every county already issues marriage licenses–the infrastructure is already there.

  10. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 8:58 am:

    –So is CCW, but I’m sure Chicago would throw a fit if that were moved up.–

    The NRA went to court on the effective date. I don’t believe Chicago had anything to do with it.

  11. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 8:59 am:

    Lake County Clerk Willard Helander said “We just don’t have the authority” and are bound by state law to wait until June, as to why Lake County will not allow same-sex marriage here. I hope the decision by the Champaign County Clerk will change her mind.

  12. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 9:03 am:

    Nonplussed is absolutely correct. So is wordslinger.

    Move along, folks. Time to quit yer whining.

  13. - Excessively Rabid - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 9:11 am:

    Looks like somebody made the coffee really strong this morning.

  14. - train111 - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 9:14 am:


    How about when county sherriffs refused to prosecute people for carrying before CCW came into effect? Where was the law then? If ‘the law’ was enforced as it was, then those sherrifs should have been arresting people instead of ‘rewriting’ the law to suit their own beliefs

  15. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 9:17 am:

    Great news. I’m very encouraged in the way the country and the state are quickly recognizing gay marriage rights. I see how people and businesses are rising in opposition to Arizona’s anti-gay discrimination bill, which I expect Gov. Brewer to veto. US AG Holder said that state AG’s don’t have to enforce gay marriage bans. Keep up the good work, folks.

  16. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 9:24 am:

    I have no problem with this. A judge (albeit one county judge) has said that SSM must be allowed so go for it. The train has left folks. Get over it and move on.

  17. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 9:30 am:

    ===albeit one county judge===

    Federal judge.

  18. - Pensioner - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 9:32 am:

    Stick a fork in it, it is done.

  19. - LincolnLounger - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 9:42 am:

    Good for Gordy. That took some courage.

    Where is Lisa Madigan? She could give these county clerks some guidance and cover.

  20. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 9:44 am:

    ==Federal judge==

    My bad. Apologies

  21. - Huh? - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 9:49 am:

    Robo said “What’s all this fuss I hear about Some Sex Marriage? Oh…that’s different…nevermind.”

    Thanks for the smile.

  22. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 10:14 am:

    I find it amazing to note how well opponents of equal rights for gay Americans pivot:

    1. Complaining about how the very institution of marriage will disintegrate while the law’s passage is in doubt;

    2. Complaining that marriage equality needs to be fine-tuned when it’s passage seems likely;

    3. Complaining about the implementation process after the bill becomes law.

    You would think that opponents of equality would revel in the speedy enactment, the more quickly to demonstrate the ill effects of this “unholy matrimony” and invoke God’s wrath.

    In fact, I am surprised no one has yet blamed the winter weather on marriage equality.

  23. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    YDD, you missed the memo.

  24. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 10:21 am:

    I’m 110 percent pro-same sex marriage. But I wonder if some same sex couples could have their marriages invalidated or not recognized if they get their license through any county other than Cook until the state law is supposed to go into effect.

  25. - circularfiringsquad - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 11:00 am:

    Willard have to be sued or arrested before she will go for Marriage Equality

  26. - Big Debbie - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    More good news, the first same sex marriage license has been issued in Champaign County within the first hours of the announcement:

  27. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 2:13 pm:

    –I see how people and businesses are rising in opposition to Arizona’s anti-gay discrimination bill, which I expect Gov. Brewer to veto–

    There’s an interesting dynamic going on there.

    Mitt asked her to veto. Newt asked her to veto. McCain and Flake asked her to veto. The chambers and hotel chains asked her to veto.

    Apple, which is set to open a factory in Arizona, asked her to veto. The NFL is saber-rattling about next year’s Super Bowl in Phoenix.

    Train has left the station, folks.

  28. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 2:46 pm:

    Thanks Wordslinger.

    My faith in the predictability of the Wingnuts is restored.

    Obama won young voters 60-36, or something like that?

  29. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 3:34 pm:

    Federal judge in Texas rules that state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

  30. - confused county clerk - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 3:40 pm:

    Using the 14th amenddent why doesn’t Attorney General Madigan give an opinion that since the state law is unconstitutinal then it should applied to all Illinois counties.

  31. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 26, 14 @ 4:17 pm:

    Once all these federal district judge rulings that state gay-marriage bans are unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment reach the Supremes, I put the over/under upholding those rulings at five and a hook, under the current court.

    The five for sure “for” are Kennedy, Breyer, Kagan, Sotamayor and Ginsburg. The three for sure “against” are Scalia, Thomas and Alito.

    The wild card is Roberts. Unless he has a Roger Taney complex, I’m guessing he’s the sixth vote, because he sure doesn’t want to be the fourth vote on a loser. I bet he writes the opinion, and goes into the history books, forever.

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