Bill Allowing Gay Weddings Sooner May See Vote

  CHICAGO (AP) -- Two Chicago women have become the first couple to take their vows under the new same-sex marriage law in Illinois.

Patricia Ewert and Vernita Gray married in a private ceremony Wednesday, just days after a judge agreed to expedite their wedding because of Gray's terminal illness.

Illinois became the 16th state to legalize gay marriage this month. State law says the marriages can't begin until June 1.

The women, who are in their mid-60s, filed a lawsuit in federal court last week asking for an expedited marriage license because of Gray's cancer.  She had surgery over the summer to remove a tumor from her brain.

A judge ordered the license Monday, and Cook County clerk officials hand-delivered it.
   They have been engaged since 2009 and hoped to marry in Illinois.

CHICAGO (AP) -- A gay couples' expedited marriage license could mean the start of other efforts to move up the effective date of Illinois' new same-sex marriage law.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill last week that's effective June 1. But one couple was able to get married Wednesday after a federal judge's order allowed them to get a marriage license right away because one of the women is ill.

The legal advocacy group Lambda Legal says more lawsuits could follow. There's also legislation pending that would allow marriages to take place right away. Sponsor state Sen. Don Harmon says it'll be a tough sell.

Approving same-sex marriage was a close vote. Still, he says it's unfair to make couples wait.

The bill could come up in January when lawmakers return to Springfield.

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