Cook County Clerk David Orr, a host of legislative leaders and civil rights groups who were instrumental in bringing marriage equality to Illinois, together with lesbian and gay couples, on Monday heralded the milestone of nearly 10,000 marriage licenses which have been issued in Cook County to same-sex couples.
As of Monday morning the Cook County Clerk’s Office had issued 9,990 marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Clerk’s office expects the 10,000th marriage license to be issued to a same-sex couple this week.
“I’m thrilled that soon my office will issue the 10,000th marriage license to a same-sex couple,” Orr said. “We should take pride in this historic milestone, and be pleased that as more same-sex couples get their marriage licenses, it will just become an ordinary occurrence.”
Orr was joined at the press conference by State Rep. Greg Harris, who sponsored Illinois’ marriage equality bill in the House; State Sen. Heather Steans, who sponsored the Senate bill; Congressman Mike Quigley, who has been a supporter of LGBT equality since his days as a Cook County Commissioner; Ald. Deb Mell, a longtime advocate and activist for marriage equality; and representatives from Lambda Legal, the ACLU of Illinois, and Equality Illinois.
Joining them were notable couples including Jim Darby and Patrick Bova, Brenda Lee and Lee Edwards, Theresa Volpe and Mercedes Santos, and Pat Ewert. Ewert is the widow of Vernita Gray, whose terminal illness was the basis for a judge ruling in November 2013 that they did not have to wait to be married.
Orr acknowledged the upcoming milestone, while lauding the work done by legislators, civil rights groups, activists and those pioneering couples who worked long and hard to bring marriage equality to Illinois and specifically to Cook County.
“Even with the euphoria we feel today, we should never let our guard down. There’s still a lot of work to do,” Orr said. “In some states, judges and clerks can refuse to marry same-sex couples because of their religious beliefs. Federal legislation has been proposed which would make that the case throughout the country. That’s not fair or equal to anyone. Bigotry remains, sometimes under the cloak of ‘religious freedom’ or ‘First Amendment rights,’ so we can’t become complacent in what we have achieved. We need to stay vigilant in the fight for equality.”
A video of the press conference can be watched here.
Detailed maps and graphs with demographic information on the same-sex couples who had been issued marriage licenses as of Friday, August 19, can be found here.