As Illinois Legalizes Gay Marriage, Legal Battles Loom in 10 More States

November 21, 2013

In the latest of nationally sweeping pro-LGBTQ legislation, Illinois governor Pat Quinn signed marriage equality into law today at University of Illinois-Chicago, making his state the 16th to legalize same-sex marriage.

“Marriage equality is coming to Illinois,” Quinn said in a Nov. 7 press release. “I look forward to signing this landmark legislation on November 20 and celebrating a big step forward with the people of Illinois.”

Illinois was nearly the 15th state to pass the law, but Hawaii’s own bill passed its Senate on Nov. 12, and Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed it into law later that day.

“The legalization of marriage for same-sex couples is part of the long history of civil rights movements in the United States,” Abercrombie said in a Nov. 13 press release. “Many people have worked tireless [sic] to make this day possible. This significant piece of legislation is a clear example of people exercising courage, determination and patient perseverance.”

President Obama also expressed support of his home state, Illinois, when the legislation was voted on, in a press release earlier this month. “As I said in my Inaugural Address last January, our journey as a nation is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” Obama said.

Illinois and Hawaii join a growing wave of legislation and litigation in favor of same-sex couples following the Supreme Court’s decision in July to strike down a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

Just this year, four other states—Delaware, Minnesota, Rhode Island and New Jersey—have also begun allowing same-sex marriage ceremonies to be performed.

“Since the beginning of the LGBT rights movement in its nascent days of the 1950s to the Stonewall rebellion of 1969, we have never come this far this fast,” said Fred Sainz, vice president of communications and marketing for the Human Rights Campaign, in an e-mail to supporters Monday.

“LGBT equality advanced more in 2013 that in any other year and at a pace never before seen,” he said.

And mounting legal battles could soon force other states to follow suit. On Friday, the same day Hawaii passed its bill, four same-sex couples in Idaho filed charges against the state to be equally recognized under the law.

Here are just some of the states facing legal battles from issues related to same-sex couples:

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