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A judge ruled on Friday that gay couples can begin applying immediately for marriage licenses in Cook County, Ill. instead of waiting for the previously voted in law to take effect later this year.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman felt that there was little point in waiting until June 1 for same-sex marriages, reports The Associated Press.
"There is no reason to delay further when no opposition has been presented to this Court and committed gay and lesbian couples have already suffered from the denial of their fundamental right to marry," the judge said.
The ruling will only affect the Chicago-area for the time being, though other county's might be able to follow suit shortly afterward. Cook County clerk David Orr said his office would remain open for two extra hours for today in honor of the ruling.
At a news conference Orr said, "This is a day that's been a long time coming. It's an historical day." He added, "We're now open for equal marriage in the county of Cook."
According to NBC News, Illinois legislature voted, by a seriously slim margin, in November to allow gay marriage, but set June 1 as the day for the law to go into effect.
Following the vote, lawsuits were filed by the ACLU and Lambda Legal, who felt that same-sex couples with one partner suffering from a serious illness should be able to marry immediately. Coleman also ruled in favor for those lawsuits.
image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons