A number of the plaintiffs sought a civil union after they were available in 2011, although some chose to wait for marriage. In the complaint, these couples describe how it feels to be relegated to a legal status that sends the message that the state regards their relationships as inferior. Couples also report the multiple ways in which they are reminded that many people do not understand civil unions, nor do they afford civil unions the same respect as marriage.
In a separate case filed on the same day, Lambda Legal is representing 16 same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry. The coordinated cases signal the organizations' shared commitment to ensure that the government treats all families fairly.
The ACLU and the ACLU of Illinois are assisted in the lawsuit by the Chicago office of Mayer Brown.
Status: A federal court has ordered the Cook County Clerk's office to provide marriage licenses immediately (as of Feb. 21, 2014) to same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry.