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Court denies try by anti-gay groups to join Lambda Legal case seeking freedom to marry in Illinois

CHICAGO -- The Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division today denied motions to intervene by the Church of Christian Liberty, Grace Gospel Fellowship and the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) in Darby v. Orr, Lambda Legal's case seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Illinois.

"We are now closer to the day these families can tell their stories in court, and explain in their own words why it is so hurtful and wrong to exclude them and their children ever from belonging to married families, without further unnecessary delays," said Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project director for Lambda Legal.

"The Illinois government should be treating all families fairly. The freedom to marry the one unique and irreplaceable person you love, whether it is someone of the same sex or a different sex, is an essential liberty for all of us. Thousands of couples and their children across the state feel a sense of loss and experience discrimination every day because the state unfairly excludes them from marriage."

On May 30, 2012, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois each filed lawsuits representing a total of 25 same-sex couples from across the state of Illinois seeking the freedom to marry. Two days later, the Illinois Attorney General's office filed papers agreeing that barring same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional. The Cook County Clerk and States Attorney also agree that the marriage ban is unconstitutional.

After the Tazewell and Effingham County Clerks moved to intervene, promising a vigorous defense of the marriage ban, the Court entered an unopposed order permitting them to enter the case as defendants. Soon after, the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-gay group based in Arizona, filed papers seeking to join the case on behalf of IFI, and Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois opposed IFI's efforts to intervene in the cases. On Sept. 20, the Church of Christian Liberty and Grace Gospel Fellowship filed their own motion to intervene, which Lambda Legal opposed.

For more information about Lambda Legal's case, visit the case page or Lambda Legal's ILove marriage campaign.

Taylor and Christopher Clark, senior staff attorney in Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office, are handling the case for Lambda Legal. They are joined by Emily Nicklin, Jordan M. Heinz and Amy Crawford of Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago.