Illinois Clerks Granted Right to Defend State's Marriage Law


The Chicago Tribune:

Two downstate county clerks have been granted the right to intervene and defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage against two lawsuits that claim the ban is unconstitutional.

A motion to intervene filed by the Thomas More Society — a public interest law firm that opposes same-sex marriage — was granted this morning by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sophia Hall. The motion was unopposed by the gay rights group Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, the groups that filed the lawsuits at the end of May.

The Thomas More Society will be representing clerk Christie Webb of Tazewell County in central Illinois and clerk Kerry Hirtzel of Effingham County in southern Illinois.

The Cook County state's attorney and the Illinois attorney general have said they agree with the lawsuits, so it was expected that an outside group would attempt to step in and defend the state's marriage laws, which bar same-sex couples from getting marriage licenses.

“We will have a full and robust defense of the marriage law,” Peter Breen, the society's executive director and legal counsel, said after today’s hearing.

Breen has also filed a motion to dismiss the complaints brought by Lambda Legal and the ACLU. The judge set a hearing on that motion for Sept. 27.