Illinois Hub

Illinois Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Repeal Marriage Equality Law

Illinois Republican Senator Kyle McCarter has introduced a bill to repeal the state's marriage equality law which passed last October and takes effect in June, Buzzfeed reports:

MccarterMcCarter introduced Senate Bill 2637 to repeal the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which passed last fall, and amend the state’s marriage statute to redefine marriage as between one man and one woman.

“[McCarter] knows it’s not going to go anywhere,” said Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), who was he chief sponsor of the marriage equality bill in the Senate. “He’s just doing this to show his constituents.”


“This is just politics,” said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda, an LGBT rights group. “It’s an election year in Illinois and whenever that happens there’s always legislators who introduce legislation that will really go nowhere, but appeals to their base and I think that’s exactly what he’s done here.”

President Obama Nominates African-American Lesbian to Federal Bench

On Thursday, President Obama announced several nominees to federal judge positions, including Staci Michelle Yandle. Yandle, who runs a private practice out of Illinois, would become only the second ever African-American, lesbian federal judge if she is confirmed, and her nomination is an indication of the concerted effort President Obama has made to diversify the American judicial system. Yandle will likely fill the space being vacated in the District Court of the southern district of Illinois by Judge John Phil Gilbert when he takes senior status in mid-March.

YandleHuffPost reports:

“I am pleased to nominate these distinguished individuals to serve on the United States District Court bench," Obama said of Yandle and a handful of other nominees he put forward Thursday. "I am confident they will serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice."

Yandle's nomination puts her on track to become the second openly lesbian African-American federal judge in the country. Judge Deborah Batts, nominated by President Bill Clinton, was sworn in as a federal judge in Manhattan in June 1994. Batts took senior status in April 2012.

Yandle said in a July 2012 interview that the judicial world needs to be more accepting of the LGBT community.

"When I first started practicing, for a while I did not feel comfortable acknowledging my sexual orientation because I didn’t want it to cost me my job," she said. "I wanted to be judged on my merit and my merit alone. Many members of the LGBT community still have that fear. We are a traditional profession that is conservative in many ways."

Congratulations to Yandle on the nomination, and we will cross our fingers for her confirmation! 

Watch a Bottle of Water in Chicago Freeze Before Your Very Eyes: VIDEO


Monday in Chicago the temperature was -13 degrees Fahrenheit—cold enough to make a bottle of water freeze before your very eyes, as Sharon Samuelson in South Elgin, Illinois discovered.

Stay warm and well hydrated, kids. The polar vortex is coming for your H2O.

See the video AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "Watch a Bottle of Water in Chicago Freeze Before Your Very Eyes: VIDEO" »

Federal Judge Rules Illinois Same-Sex Marriages May Proceed Early for Those Who Are Terminally Ill


A US District judge ruled on Monday that same-sex couples where one of the members is terminally ill may marry in Illinois before the state's marriage equality bill takes effect in June 2014, the AP reports:

U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman's final order on the matter, issued at a hearing in Chicago on Monday, comes in the wake of another judge's recent ruling allowing a lesbian couple to get married last month in Illinois because one of the women is terminally ill.

Coleman's ruling in the class-action lawsuit means any couple in Illinois can apply to marry right away — via the Cook County clerk's office — if they can provide a doctor's note confirming one partner is terminally ill.

The four couples named as plaintiffs, all of whom are from Cook County, include Elvie Jordan and Challis Gibbs, who recently entered a civil union. Gibbs has cancer and may not live until June, according to the complaint.

"When I die, I want Elvie to be able to say, 'I lost my wife.' I don't want her to have to say, 'I lost my civil union partner,'" it quotes Gibbs as saying.

Vernita Gray and Pat Ewert married in late November in Illinois, the first gay couple to be granted such a dispensation in the state, making them the first to be married under the new law.

More information on the plaintiffs from Windy City Media HERE.

First Gay Couple Marries in Illinois: VIDEO


Illinois saw its first same-sex marriage as Vernita Gray and Pat Ewert married on Wednesday in Chicago.

As we reported earlier this week, Illinois' same-sex marriage law goes into effect in June but Gray and Ewert were allowed to marry early because Gray is terminally ill. A U.S. District Court in Chicago asked the Cook County Clerk to issue an expedited marriage license for the couple after a motion was filed by Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois.

Watch Gray and Ewert's ceremony, AFTER THE JUMP...

The AP reports:

The two made it official Wednesday in front of more than 20 friends at their high-rise home on the city's North Side. A Cook County judge officiated, and a close friend who deemed himself the "flower girl" tossed red rose petals and the couple kissed several times.

They were pronounced wife and wife.

"So happy, so incredibly happy," Ewert told The Associated Press after the wedding. "We feel so blessed to have this honor bestowed upon us. I love my partner, my wife now, more every single day."

When Illinois legalized gay marriage earlier this month, it was bittersweet for the couple, in their mid-60s. They feared that Gray might not live until the law would allow them to wed. They filed a lawsuit, and a federal judge allowed the two women, in their mid-60s, to get an expedited marriage license.

The mood was cheerful and festive Wednesday; Ewert wore a leopard print shawl that belonged to Gray's mother and Gray donned a dark silky jacket. A friend sang Etta James' "At Last." The couple signed papers at the ceremony which was attended by many of the city's gay rights activists; Gray has long been involved in the movement.

Continue reading "First Gay Couple Marries in Illinois: VIDEO" »

Gay Couple, One of Whom is Terminally Ill, Will Be First to Marry in Illinois After Judge's Order


Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert will become the first gay couple to marry in Illinois after an order from the U.S. District Court in Chicago, requesting that the Cook County clerk's office issue an expedited marriage license because Gray is terminally ill, NBC Chicago reports:

County Clerk David Orr said he will comply with the court's order, handed down Monday by Judge Thomas Durkin.

A lawsuit was filed Friday by Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois seeking immediate action for Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert. Gray has bone and brain cancer and is not expected to live until Illinois' gay marriage law goes into effect June 1.
Camilla Taylor of the gay rights group Lambda Legal says Gray wishes to marry the woman she loves before she dies.

Orr says his office will expedite a marriage license to Gray and Taylor, adding it's a service already granted to heterosexual couples in similar situations.


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