Sunday was a monumental day in the state of Illinois as June 1 marked the first day of legal gay marriage in all of Illinois 102 counties. It has been a long battle for gay marriage supporters in the state that was finally rewarded in November 2013 when Governor Pat Quinn came through on a promise and enthusiastically signed the gay marriage bill that was passed through the Senate and the House.
Equality Illinois officials say more than 1,300 same-sex couples have already been able to obtain marriage licenses from Cook County clerk’s office. That was made possible when a federal judge in Chicago ruled in February that the delayed date of June 1 was unnecessary since Illinois’ original ban on gay marriage was ruled as unconstitutional. The ruling was only effective in Cook County so Sunday still carried much significance for many couples throughout the state.
Tracy Bain, publisher of the LGBT newspaper Windy City Times highlighted the importance of the day. She told the Chicago Tribune, “There’s a whole lot of things that we have experienced as a community with stops and starts that you don’t want to make big plans on. I think a lot of people like both the legal and symbolic reason of the June 1 date.”
As gay couples took their vows throughout the state on Sunday in celebration of marriage equality, Quinn is one of those people proud of the path his state has taken. In a statement the Quinn said the state is now on the “right side of history.” Illinois became the 16th state to legalize gay marriage with Quinn’s signature. In the statement, he continued, “All couples across Illinois can now receive the rights and protections under the sacred vow of marriage. The Land of Lincoln has always been a place to embrace all people and today we stand as an example for the rest of the nation.”