Same-sex couple in Illinois makes history with state’s first legal marriage

Last week, on November 27, Vernita Gray and Pat Ewert became the first same-sex couple ever to marry in Illinois. The women, who worked with Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois this year in a lawsuit seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, were granted an emergency marriage license by a federal court last Monday. 

Vernita has been suffering with cancer since 1996, and doctors have recently diagnosed her condition as life-threatening. The couple petitioned the court for an emergency marriage license, explaining that they can't wait until June 2014, when the marriage law in Illinois - passed last month in the House (and previously with overwhelming Senate support) and signed by Governor Pat Quinn.

They married in a private ceremony in their home in Illinois. After the ceremony, Vernita said, "I'm so excited for us and for the community, for today is a beginning. One so richly deserved." 

Lambda Legal's marriage project director, Camilla Taylor, congratulated the couple last week, explaining:

Every day is crucial for same-sex couples like Vernita and Pat, who may not be able to and shouldn’t have to wait until next summer to get married. We’re thankful for the swift action by the court and the Cook County Clerk’s office to allow this to happen as soon as possible, and we’re beyond thrilled for Vernita and Pat, who are now able to say ‘We’re married.’

Freedom to Marry congratulates Vernita and Pat on their nuptials, and look forward to June 2014, when all same-sex couples in Illinois will be able to marry in their home state.