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Same-sex couple encourages county clerk's decision

URBANA -- Champaign County became the second county in the state to issue same-sex marriage licenses. It comes just days after a federal judge ruled Cook County could do the same.
URBANA -- Champaign County became the second county in the state to issue same-sex marriage licenses. It comes just days after a federal judge ruled Cook County could do the same. After hearing that news, one couple rushed to the county clerk's office to file their paperwork. They hope to be one of the first to get married in Champaign County. As WCIA-3's Drew Wilder reports, they got the ball rolling for the entire county.

When Marissa and Laura woke up Wednesday, they had no idea they were about to make history.

"Just a normal morning. Checked my feed and I follow the Champaign County Clerk on Facebook and there was a post that they were going to be issuing marriage licenses. I saw that and turned over to Marissa and told her the great news and we basically made a split-second decision to run over there and be the first in line and be number one which we were, so it was really cool, and we skipped class, I'm sorry."

Laura and Marissa took this picture with Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten, just moments after becoming the first same-sex couple in Champaign County with a marriage license. But, this was actually the second time this week, they'd been in contact.

Monday, Laura sent Gordy Hulten an email asking how Champaign County would respond to a federal judge's ruling about Cook County's ability to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

"I emailed Gordy on Monday and just kind of expressed my concern, that, you know, this is happening in Cook County. They're not waiting until June first to issue marriage licenses. And he said he thought about it while he was doing his dishes and he came in the next day and they didn't see any reason why the the people of Cook County should have rights that the people of Champaign County don't have. So, he made sure everything was okay legally and they went ahead and did it. He said Laura was the catalyst for that so, she wouldn't say that, but I'm really proud."

They may have got the ball rolling in Champaign County, but they give all of the credit back to the county clerk.

"I know that office is going to face some backlash, so I just want to personally express my gratitude."

Once a marriage license is issued, couples have sixty days to marry. Three same-sex couples got their licenses in Champaign County Wednesday.

Attitudes about gay and lesbian couples have changed drastically in the past ten years. A new survey found overall support for same-sex marriage is up 21%.

71% of young people say they have a close friend who is gay. 56% of young people say homosexuality is morally acceptable.
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