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Illinois Gay Marriage: State's Attorney Anita Alvarez Calls State Same-Sex Marriage Ban 'Unconstitutional'

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Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez speaks at at news conference Saturday, May 19, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez speaks at at news conference Saturday, May 19, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Barely a week after two groups of Illinois couples filed lawsuits challenging the state's ban on marriage equality, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez says she will file a motion indicating she agrees with several points made in the suits.

Queerty reports that in a statement from the State's Attorney's office, Alvarez:

“...concede[s] that the equal-protection clause of the Illinois Constitution prohibits discrimination in the issuance of marriage licenses based upon sex or sexual orientation…

We are in agreement with the plaintiffs that Illinois laws that prohibit same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. We believe the plaintiffs are correct in their assertion that the Illinois Constitution upholds marriage equality for same sex couples just as it does for opposite sex couples.”

The suits were filed against Cook County Clerk David Orr, who expressed support for the ban to be revoked in a statement, calling the lawsuits "long past due for the state of Illinois."

In her capacity as State's Attorney, Alvarez is charged with defending the Cook County Clerk against the suits, making her support particularly meaningful.

Democratic Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office also filed papers last week indicating it would not defend the state's marriage ban, according to WBEZ.

But the lawsuits are not unopposed. Peter Breen, executive director of the Thomas More Society, a law firm that opposes marriage equality, told the Windy City Times he believes the ban is constitutional, and said his firm is "right now working on some sort of legal device to defend Illinois state law.

Alvarez's motion follows a formal endorsement of same-sex marriage from Illinois Governor Pat Quinn in May, and the introduction of the Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act in February which was sponsored by a group of the state's three openly gay state representatives.

An economic study conducted by the Williams Institute predicted that legalizing same-sex marriage would generate between $39 and $72 million for Illinois' economy in wedding expenses alone, and between $4.5 and $8 million in new sales and lodging tax revenues.

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