Madison and St. Clair counties, both just across the river from St. Louis, are allowing same-sex couples to marry three months ahead of schedule.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan encouraged Illinois counties to skip waiting until June 1 and start granting same-sex marriage licenses immediately after a federal-court ruling last month allowed gay couples to marry in Cook County, which includes Chicago.
"There is no reason to delay further when no opposition has been presented to this court, and committed gay and lesbian couples have already suffered from the denial of their fundamental right to marry," U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman stated in the ruling.
Promo Missouri, the statewide LGBT advocacy group, called the county offices throughout Illinois to find out where couples could apply for marriage licenses. St. Clair and Madison counties, both neighbors to St. Louis, told the group they are allowing same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses.
The state attorney's office still has to approve the licenses, which could take a week in St. Clair County. Monroe County officials told KSDK (Channel 5) they are still adjusting the computer program and didn't have a date set for when they'll start issuing licenses.
Illinois governor Pat Quinn applauded the decision to encourage counties to allow same-sex marriage early.
"Nobody should have to wait for equal rights when it comes to love," Quinn says. Illinois became the sixteenth state to allow gay marriage in November.
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