2nd Ill. county issues same-sex marriage licenses

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URBANA, Ill. (AP) -- A second Illinois county has begun issuing same-sex marriage licenses ahead of a new state law that takes effect June 1.

 

Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten says the decision comes after a judge's ruling last week declaring Illinois' ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. That ruling applied to Cook County, where Chicago is located, because the lawsuit was filed against County Clerk David Orr.

 

But Hulten says he's consulted with Champaign County's attorneys and has decided if the original law "is unconstitutional in Cook County it's unconstitutional in Champaign County." He also wants to spare taxpayers the expense of a lawsuit.

 

Bernard Cherkasov of Equality Illinois applauds the decision and says it's time for other Illinois counties to follow suit.

 

Hulten's office is issuing the licenses Wednesday.

 

Champaign County's first marriage license to a same-sex couple has been issued to two University of Illinois law students.

 

Laura and Marissa Meli received their license Wednesday as the county became the second in Illinois to issue the documents to same-sex couples. They've been together more than eight years.

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