An Illinois man sued for obeying the state law on pro-gender marriage gets help from county clerks.
A judge ruled on Tuesday that two Illinois counties could defend a state law banning same-sex marriage in a court battle that supporters of gay marriage hope will lead to an Illinois court overturning the law and legalizing gay nuptials.
In 1996 Illinois, like many other states, passed a law that said marriage is only between a man and a woman.
The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on May 30 against Chicago's Cook County Clerk David Orr after his office cited that 16-year-old law in refusing to marry same-sex couples or recognize out-of-state gay marriages.
In the Illinois case, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, both Democrats, declined to defend the state law banning same sex marriage.
But two county clerks from more conservative parts of the state, Democrat Christie Webb of Tazewell County and Republican Kerry Hirtzel of Effingham County, asked the court to allow them to defend the state law.
The decision on Tuesday by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sophia Hall granted a request from the two clerks to intervene in the case.
The next step in the case is a hearing on September 27 on a motion from the two clerks to dismiss the case.