Illinois Governor Signs Marriage Equality Bill Into Law

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November 20, 2013
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (center), with Patrick Bova (left) and Jim Darby, plaintiffs in Lambda Legal's Illinois marriage lawsuit.

Today, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed the marriage equality bill into law at a ceremony in Springfield. Jim Bennett, Regional Director of Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office, attended the historic signing. 

Illinois is now on the equality map, as it joins the ranks of states recognizing that love is love. Across the Land of Lincoln, it’s a truly historic day for gay and lesbian couples and their children.

Lambda Legal celebrates this day with thousands of same-sex couples in Illinois who have been waiting for this day since they first decided to make a commitment of love and loyalty to each other.

Lambda Legal is thrilled to have been a leading partner in this fight, and I’m personally thankful to have helped bring the freedom to marry to my home state of Illinois.

Here's everything you need to know about getting married in Illinois.

Some of the plaintiff couples in Lambda Legal's Illinois marriage lawsuit were also there, including Jim Darby and Patrick Bova, who spoke at the ceremony:

Good afternoon! I’m Patrick Bova, and this is my partner Jim Darby. We’ve been very active in Chicago and Illinois for years, working on gay and lesbian veteran’s rights and also the freedom to marry. We’ve been together for over 50 years. I can remember so many times when I was celebrating families' and friends' anniversaries and thinking how wonderful it would be to celebrate my marriage to Jim.  Finally, that day has come!

Because of our love and commitment to each other, and the importance marriage is to so many families in Illinois, we’ve helped Lambda Legal and the Illinois Unites Coalition get this bill passed. Today is a day that we celebrate alongside countless Illinois veterans who, like us, would not be able to access full veteran’s rights without marriage. With marriage, Jim and I will be able to be buried together in Lincoln Memorial Cemetery, a resting place for service members. We have never wanted special rights, or extra rights, we’ve always wanted to be treated with the honor and respect that is afforded to everyone else that serves this country. Today is the day when we can look back on our five decades together and say, “We can finally be newlyweds!”

Jim and every other veteran has taken care of our country, of our fellow citizens, and we’re so happy to be able to say that Illinois will now take care of us. We love each other so much, and we are so proud to be able to marry in our home state of Illinois. Thank you to Gov. Pat Quinn and Rep. Greg Harris, and everyone who made this possible for us.

Meet Jim and Patrick: