An Illinois court today ruled that three antigay groups cannot intervene in the lawsuit seeking marriage equality in the state.
The Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division, denied motions by the Church of Christian Liberty, Grace Gospel Fellowship, and the Illinois Family Institute to intervene in the case, according to Lambda Legal, which represents several of the couples seeking equal marriage rights.
The three right-wing groups had argued that they had a vested interest in fighting efforts to legalize same-sex marriage, but attorneys for the couples argued that these groups did not, and that allowing them to become parties to the case would slow down the proceedings, Windy City Times reports.
Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois together represent 25 couples challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage. "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," Camilla Taylor, Lambda Legal's Marriage Project Director, said in a prepared statement.
David Orr, the clerk of Cook County, which includes Chicago, has refused to defend the ban, deeming it unconstitutional, and the state attorney general and Cook County state's attorney agreed. Defending it falls to the clerks of Tazewell and Effingham counties, who had earlier petitioned to intervene in the case. The Thomas More Society, a conservative legal group, represents both clerks.
Illinois currently offers civil unions to same-sex couples. A bill that would grant them marriage rights is pending in the state legislature.