Although the Illinois law making same-sex marriage legal won’t officially go into effect until June 1, 2014, 16 Illinois counties (as of today) are already issuing marriage licenses, which is causing some confusion for statewide organizations, such as the Illinois National Guard.
In response to a request from Brigadier General Daniel Krumrei (Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard) for guidelines regarding how to handle marriage certificates already issued by the various counties, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn issued a ruling last Friday, in which he stated, “Same-sex couples in Illinois have waited long enough for marriage equality, and there is no valid reason for any Illinois state agency to delay full recognition of equal rights for all Illinoisans. Therefore, as Commander-in-Chief of the Illinois National Guard, I hereby direct the Illinois National Guard to immediately recognize all Illinois marriage certificates issued to same-sex couples since the federal court’s February 21, 2014, decision as valid.”
Quinn’s decision is meant to clear up confusion caused by a February federal court ruling requiring Cook County to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Since this ruling went into effect, 16 other Illinois counties have begun issuing licenses. The remaining counties are waiting for June 1, 2014, when the new law will go into effect. According to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, it is the prerogative of each individual county clerk and county attorneys to decide whether or not they will issue licenses to same-sex couples before the June start date.
In response to Quinn’s directive, Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov said the ruling should settle any questions about the validity of gay marriages performed throughout the state. Cherkasov also said Equality Illinois will reach out and update the governor’s information, as the directive stated that four counties were offering marriage certificates, when, in fact, the number of issuing counties currently stands at sixteen.
Quinn signed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act into law at a ceremony in Chicago last November.
Quinn’s full directive: