Local couple fights for marriage equality
WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Ill. — A prominent Illinois state's attorney now says the Land Of Lincoln's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez believes the state's constitution should uphold marriage equality. Her comments come in the wake of lawsuits filed against the state by same-sex couples looking to wed.
An area couple is hoping their voices will be heard.
"We're very open and we have a family that supports us," said Tim Kee, of Marion, Illinois.
Local 6 first introduced you to Tim Kee and his partner of 15 years Rick Wade back in December.
Their struggles to adopt a child grabbed national headlines. They were featured in a New York Times article.
"Whatever we can do, we're willing to do it," said Kee.
Now the couple is fighting for marriage equality. They're plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Cook County, saying a civil union just isn't the same as a marriage.
"When you grow up, you don't grow up with the intent of being civil unionized. Most people grow up with the intent of finding that special someone and getting married to them," said Rick Wade.
Civil rights attorneys filed the two lawsuits back in May, one on behalf of Lambda Legal. The organization represents 16 same-sex couples in Illinois.
The other suit was filed on behalf of the ACLU. Nine couples are a part of it.
An Illinois ACLU spokesperson said papers will be filed next week to combine the two lawsuits into one.
"We mulled it over but we thought we've gone this far," Wade said. "We'll go further."
Kee and Wade said the ACLU contacted them back in October about being part of the legal action. The decision wasn't hard to make.
"Freedom to live our lives the way we want to live our lives, openly and without prejudice," said Kee.
For now, they wait and wonder if their story could be the one that changes history.
Opponents of same-sex marriage in Illinois said they were disappointed the Cook County state's attorney would not defend the state's ban on it.