Today dozens of gay and lesbian couples in Illinois are planning on filing lawsuits claiming the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because it denies due process and equality.Lambda Legal and The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois are working on two different suits, representing couples from around the state—including Tanya Lazaro and Elizabeth Matos, who have been together for 15 years and have two children. The hope is the cases will wind their way up to the Illinois Supreme Court.
A measure eliminating Illinois’ “one man, one woman definition” of marriage is before the State Legislature, but a vote isn’t expected before they break for summer recess this week. And like many same-sex couples in the The Prairie State, Lazaro and Matos aren’t satisfied with the limited protections offered by civil unions.
“It’s not the same thing as a marriage. We want our relationship, our love and our commitment we’ve shown for 15 years to be recognized like everybody else’s,” says Lazaro, a Chicago police detective. “When you’re growing up, you don’t dream of civil unions.”
Not everyone is rooting the couples on, of course: Conservatives, who tried to block even civil unions last year, are opposed to the judiciary making a decision on the issue: “The courts shouldn’t mandate it. Nobody should mandate homosexual marriage,” said Concerned Women for America’s Colleen Nolen.
Ugh, is it too late to repeal women’s right to vote?