posttrib
SPLENDID 
Weather Updates

Same-sex couples can marry now with doctor’s note: federal judge

Holding their Illinois marriage license VernitGray left PatriciEwert smile friends after they were married by Cook County Judge PatriciLogue first

Holding their Illinois marriage license, Vernita Gray, left, and Patricia Ewert smile at friends after they were married by Cook County Judge Patricia Logue, the first gay marriage in Illinois, at the couple's home Wednesday, Nov. 27. | AP

storyidforme: 59364938
tmspicid: 21582621
fileheaderid: 10181398

Vernita Gray, 64, and Patricia Ewert, 65, became the first same-sex couple to wed in Illinois last month after they asked a federal judge for an expedited license because Gray has inoperable brain tumors and breast cancer that has spread to her bones. Gay rights advocates say three gay couples have been granted emergency marriage license applications in Cook County.

Updated: January 18, 2014 6:18AM



Same-sex couples in which one or both partners has a life-threatening illness now don’t have to wait until June to get married in Illinois.

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman Monday ordered Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office to immediately begin issuing marriage licences to qualifying couples.

Though the suit — brought by two Chicago couples — names Orr’s office, the ruling could potentially affect hundreds of couples, gay rights advocates say. Illinois last month became the 16th state to legalize gay marriage, but most couples can’t apply for licenses until June 1.

Following Coleman’s order to the Cook County Clerk’s office, couples will be able to marry straightaway if they can provide a doctor’s note saying one partner has a life-threatening illness.

“This Court can conceive of no reason why the public interest would be disserved by allowing a few couples facing terminal illness to wed a few months earlier than the timeline would currently allow,” Coleman wrote in her order.

John Knight, one of the attorneys on the case, said: “These are very tragic stories, but we are very pleased we could help out at a time when it is very important to these couples.”

Vernita Gray, 64, and Patricia Ewert, 65, became the first same-sex couple to wed in Illinois last month after they asked a federal judge for an expedited license because Gray has inoperable brain tumors and breast cancer that has spread to her bones. Gay rights advocates say three gay couples have been granted emergency marriage license applications in Cook County.

Contributing: AP

Email: sesposito@suntimes.com

Twitter: @slesposito



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.