Thursday, June 07, 2012

Illinois AG Supports Marriage Equality Lawsuit

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D)
Recently, Lambda Legal and ACLU each filed a lawsuit in Illinois challenging the denial of marriage equality to 25 same-sex couples. Even though the state has a civil unions law which provides all the legal rights and benefits that a state can bestow without using the word "marriage," the lawsuit (Darby v. Orr and Lazaro v. Orr) argues that the civil union law discriminates on the basis of sex and sexual orientation since opposite sex couples have access to civil unions  and marriage, but same-sex couples only have access to civil unions.

Now comes word that the Attorney General of Illinios Democrat Lisa Madigan supports marriage equality and is refusing to defend the civil union law in court.
In a pair of June 1 filings in Darby v. Orr and Lazaro v. Orr, which were reviewed by Metro Weekly, the attorney general's office has requested to intervene in the cases, which it says is appropriate because state law permits a court to allow the state to intervene when the validity of a state law is at issue. The Attorney General's Office is not requesting to intervene to defend the laws, however, which is the usual reason for such intervention.

In the requests, Madigan writes, "Petitioner respectfully requests the right to intervene in this case to present the Court with arguments that explain why the challenged statutory provisions do not satisfy the guarantee of equality under the Illinois Constitution."
Additionally, Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, who signed the civil unions bill into law on February 1, 2011 now says that he supports marriage equality, making it likely that he will not oppose the lawsuit as well.

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