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Marriage equality legal actions being filed in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois and North Carolina

Lambda Legal and American Civil Liberties Union launch multi-state strategy

Several legal actions are being planned to try and bring same-sex marriage to the 37 remaining states in the US where it is not yet legal.

Less than two weeks after the US Supreme Court gave huge boosts to gay marriage with their rulings on California's Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, the activist groups Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) - separately and sometimes together - are busy filing and planning lawsuits.

In Illinois, the ACLU and Lambda Legal will file a motion today (10 July) for summary judgment and request a swift ruling in favor of allowing same-sex marriage in the state.

The groups both filed lawsuits in May on behalf of 25 same-sex couples across the state who want to get married. They quickly got support of the Illinois Attorney General's office the Cook County Clerk and State's Attorney who all concurred that the state's marriage ban is unconstitutional.

In Pennsylvania, the ACLU is planning to file the first known challenge to a state law which effectively bans same-sex marriage. The lawsuit will be filed in federal court on behalf of a group of plaintiffs that include 10 couples.

Pennsylvania remains the only state in the northeastern US that does not allow gay marriage or civil unions. The lawsuit will seek to make same-sex marriage legal and to force the state to recognize the marriages of couples who were married outside of Pennsylvania.

The ACLU is also taking on North Carolina's marriage ban by amending a federal lawsuit filed against the state last year on behalf of six same-sex couples and their children that challenges North Carolina’s ban on second parent adoptions.

And finally, the ACLU and Lambda Legal have also targeted Virginia as a state to push for marriage equality through the courts. The pending lawsuit in that state is still in the planning stages.

Greg Nevins, Supervising Senior Staff Attorney in the group's Southern Regional Office, had this to say: 'The end of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act opens a new chapter in our work to ensure same-sex couples and their families across the country are treated with dignity and respect.'

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