Same-sex marriage allowed in Champaign County

By Anna Carrera

Published 02/26 2014 08:52AM

Updated 02/27 2014 11:43AM

Update: 4:32 pm
URBANA -- Just days after same-sex couples in Cook County got the green light to get married, Champaign County is following suit. After hearing Friday's federal ruling, Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten decided to take a closer look.

He made the big announcement Wednesday. Hulten decided if Cook County couples can get married, people in Champaign County could too. So, as of Wednesday, same-sex couples can get their marriage licenses in Urbana.

Hulten had been talking about this with the State's Attorney and a few others since last week. His workers made sure they had paperwork ready for anyone who came in.

Hulten says he feels very comfortable moving forward with this legally adding it's just the right thing to do. Even though they didn't expect a huge rush, Hulten says people will come in when they're ready.

Those couples, like any others, have sixty days to get married after getting a license. Hulten says he hopes other counties do the same, but if they don't, couples from anywhere else are welcome to come get married in Champaign County.

Two same-sex couples got their licenses Wednesday. Hear from the first couple tonight at 6 pm.
Original: 8:52 am
URBANA -- People of the same gender seeking to marry in Champaign County are now able to receive a marriage license. Wednesday morning, Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten issued the following statement:

        On Friday, federal judge Sharon Johnson Coleman held that the Illinois
        statute banning marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional and
        violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The Illinois
        Attorney General and the Cook County Clerk were parties to the suit. The
        precise effect of the ruling on other Illinois counties is unclear. However, after
        consulting with State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, I have come to the conclusion that
        the rationale of the case applies to all citizens of Illinois and that Champaign
        County residents should have no fewer Constitutional rights than those in Cook
        County. Furthermore, given the ruling, denying a license to a same sex couple
        would provide no benefit to the County and would likely result in litigation
        at taxpayer expense.

        Therefore, effective immediately, the Champaign County Clerk’s office will
        issue marriage licenses to same sex applicants, in accordance with the 14th
        Amendment, and the Illinois and United States Constitutions.

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