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Lawsuits seeking equal marriage rights in state of Illinois are filed

Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union are suing on behalf of 25 same-sex couples in the state

Saying the civil unions are not enough, two lawsuits were filed Wednesday (30 May) on behalf of a total of 25 Illinois couples who want the right to be married.

Lambda Legal filed suit on behalf of 16 couples who have been together between 6 and 48 years. Ten of the couples are raising children.

The case, in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division, argues that barring same-sex couples and their children from marriage is a violation of the Illinois Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and due process.

'These couples and their children share a dream of being part of a married family,' said Camilla Taylor, National Marriage Project director for Lambda Legal. 'By excluding them from marriage, and relegating them to civil unions, our government has marked them as different and worth less than other Illinois families—and that is exactly how others treat them.'

Taylor, the attorney who led the litigation effort and won marriage for same-sex couples in Iowa, said the plaintiffs have suffered 'disrespect' in schools, workplaces, hospitals, and in their everyday interactions with government.

'They should have the freedom to marry—it’s just time,' Taylor said.

In a separate case filed Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois represents nine same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry. The suit claims that allowing the couples to enter into civil unions but not to marry infringes upon their equal protection, due process and privacy rights.

Below is a moving video of some of the couples telling their stories from a lifetime together:

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