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Vernita Gray (L) and Pat Ewert kiss after their Civil Union ceremony in Chicago, June 2, 2011. Illinois is the sixth state that allows civil unions or their equivalent. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY POLITICS) - RTR2N7IY
Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert kiss after their 2011 civil union ceremony. Now, a federal judge is allowing them to marry before Illinois' marriage equality law goes into effect.
Illinois' new marriage equality won't go into effect until June 1, but a federal judge is allowing one couple to marry now—because they might not have until June 1:
Vernita Gray, 64, a longtime Chicago LGBT rights activist, suffers from two forms of cancer that threaten her life and is seeking to marry her girlfriend of five years, Patricia Ewert, according to lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and Lambda Legal. The groups brought the case to court Nov. 22.

“Vernita is terminally ill and she wishes to marry the woman she loves before she dies — and now she won’t have to wait another day,” said Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project director for Lambda Legal. “These two women, who have loved and cared for each other in good times and bad, through sickness and through health, will get to know what it means to be married.”

U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin ordered Cook County Clerk David Orr—a longtime marriage equality supporter— to issue a marriage license to Gray and Ewert. Being married means that, if Gray dies, Ewert won't have to worry about the estate tax. But beyond that, it would allow Gray to die with full legal recognition of her relationship, allow Ewert to celebrate marriage equality taking effect on June 1 without the added burden of having been excluded from it personally by time and illness.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Nov 26, 2013 at 07:11 AM PST.

Also republished by Chicago Kossacks, Land of Lincoln Kos, and Daily Kos.

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