CHICAGO (AP) - An Illinois judge promises to rule on the future of a lawsuit seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.
The lawsuit was filed last year by 25 gay couples who want the right to marry.
Cook County Judge Sophia Hall is expected to rule Friday on a motion to dismiss the case.
Lawyers for five downstate county clerks who are defending the ban want the case tossed. Plaintiffs' attorneys want the judge to let the lawsuit stand - then rule immediately that they won the lawsuit and that the ban is illegal.
The clerks won permission to defend the ban after Cook County's top prosecutor and the Illinois attorney general refused to do so, saying the 17 year old ban violates the state constitution.
Illinois legalized civil unions two years ago.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — With gay marriage now legal in 13 states, some churches think it is only a matter of time before they are sued by gay couples.
That's why some Christian attorneys are advising churches to change their bylaws to include their belief that the Bible only allows marriage between one man and one woman.
Attorney Kevin Snider with the Christian legal group the Pacific Justice Institute is one of those recommending the bylaw change.
Snider says he doesn't know of any churches that have been sued yet, but some religious leaders have been threatened with lawsuits.
Critics say the changes are unnecessary.
Gay Christian Network Director Justin Lee says there is no movement to force churches to perform weddings that violate their religious beliefs.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The California Supreme Court has refused to stop gay marriages in the state.
In a brief ruling Wednesday, the high court tossed out a legal challenge by supporters of Proposition 8, the ballot measure passed by voters that banned same-sex marriages in California.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June left in place a trial judge's order striking down the ballot measure as unconstitutional. On June 28, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Prop 8 supporters had asked the state Supreme Court to stop the weddings, arguing that the federal court action applied narrowly and only to the two couples who filed the federal lawsuit challenging the ban.
With little comment, a unanimous state Supreme Court allowed gay marriages to continue.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Same-sex spouses of military members could get health care, housing and other benefits by the end of August. That's according to a Pentagon proposal under consideration.
But the agency may reverse earlier plans to provide benefits to gay partners who are not married. According to a draft Defense Department memo, the department instead may provide up to 10 days of leave to military personnel in same-sex relationships so they can travel to states where they can marry legally.
While no final decisions have been made, the memo from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to top defense leaders would reverse the earlier plan that would allow same-sex partners of military members to receive limited benefits, such as access to military stores and some health and welfare programs.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gay marriage supporters are launching a $2 million statewide campaign to approve same-sex marriage in Illinois.
Illinois Unites for Marriage is a coalition representing gay rights, civil rights and political groups.
In a statement Tuesday, the group says it will place 15 field organizers throughout the state to engage supporters. They plan to target legislators who oppose a measure to lift Illinois' ban on same-sex marriage.
The Illinois Senate passed the bill in February. It wasn't called for a vote in the House because the bill's sponsor said it didn't have the votes to pass.
Jim Bennett is chairman of the coalition. He says the next few months are critical because lawmakers could take up the bill in the fall.
Opponents say marriage should be between a man and woman.
The Supreme Court invalidated parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, but the Archdiocese of St. Louis is standing firm on its opposition of gay marriage.
The Archdiocese says in a statement that "marriage predates both the U.S. government and Western civilization". The statement also states the ruling does not change the Archdiocese "responsiblity to defend marriage as being between one man and one woman".
Wednesday's ruling allows same-sex couples to receive the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.
The full statement from the Archdiocese is below:
The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and to dismiss the California Proposition 8 appeal does not change the reality of marriage, nor does it change the Archdiocese of St. Louis's responsibility to defend marriage as being between one man and one woman. It is important to note that marriage predates both the U.S. government and Western civilization.
From a Catholic perspective, it is not enough to offer the Church’s position on same-sex union without also saying how it fits into a broader understanding of the sacrament of marriage, human sexuality, and the Gospel of Life as taught by Blessed John Paul II. The vocation to serve God and society through married life is a sacred union in which man and woman become one flesh. The Catholic Church does not condemn individuals for having same-sex attraction. She teaches that all people are called to responsibility regarding sexuality. The sexual union of a man and woman, when not obstructed by contraceptives, is the kind that is open to life even if new life is not the result.
We understand that married persons imitate the way Christ offers His body completely and permanently to the Church so that we might have life, and have it abundantly. This truth is written into our bodies as well as on the pages of the Old and New Testaments. While the law can allow other things to be called marriage, it cannot make them into the kind of union that is marriage.
CHICAGO (AP) - The leader of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus has signed on to co-sponsor a measure that would authorize same-sex couples to marry in the state.
Rep. Ken Dunkin announced his support for the legislation Tuesday. The Chicago Democrat says gay families living in his district are waiting for the state to treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve.
Dunkin says the legislation would provide equal protection under the law for all families.
The proposal received Senate approval in February. Supporters say they are working to secure the 60 votes needed to pass the measure in the House.
If the bill becomes law, it would make Illinois the 10th state to allow same-sex marriage. Illinois approved civil unions in 2011.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he's confident same-sex marriage will become law in Illinois.
Quinn told reporters in Chicago on Monday that supporters are "very close" to the votes needed in the state House to pass legislation that grants same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.
The Illinois Senate already approved it. But getting the 60 votes needed in the House is proving harder. Quinn didn't suggest a current vote count, but he said "we're going to get it done."
The Chicago Democrat says he's reached out personally to ask legislators to support the measure.
If the bill does become law, it would make Illinois the 10th state to allow same-sex marriage. The state approved civil unions in 2011.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gay rights advocates say Sen. Mark Kirk's announcement that he supports gay marriage is "a sign of progress."
Kirk posted a statement on his blog Tuesday saying same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. He says what matters in life is who you love and "government has no place in the middle."
He is the second Republican in the U.S. Senate to back same-sex marriage.
Rick Garcia is director of the Equal Marriage Illinois Project. He says momentum is growing for marriage equality, especially among Republicans.
Opponents like Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute disagree. Higgins says Kirk and other Republicans who back gay marriage are contributing to the destruction of marriage and diminished religious liberty.
CHICAGO (AP) - Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois says he supports same-sex marriage.
Kirk said in a post on his blog Tuesday that same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. He says what matters in life is who you love and "government has no place in the middle."
Kirk previously voted to end the policy barring gays from openly serving in the military, known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." He's a lead co-sponsor of a bill to ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and has opposed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
Kirk is Illinois' ranking Republican lawmaker.