Two lawsuits filed Wednesday are part of efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois. They're filed on behalf of 25 gay and lesbian couples who were denied when they tried to apply for marriage licenses in Cook County. The lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and Lambda Legal challenge Illinois marriage law on a constitutional basis.
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Attorneys say they should be able to marry under due process and equality clauses in the Illinois Constitution. Marriage is defined as between a man and woman. Illinois approved same-sex civil unions last year but Camilla Taylor, national marriage project director at Lambda Legal, says the civil union law has negatively branded same-sex couples. “A year ago same–sex couples around the state were joined in civil unions,” Taylor said. “Since then they have lived their lives and they have encountered discrimination in every arena - in schools, in work places in businesses and in their everyday interactions with government. By excluding these families from marriage and relegating them to civil unions, a lesser status, government has branded these families as inferior, as less deserving than other families.”
Opponents of same-sex marriage say the lawsuits won't stand up in court.