Federal Judge: Illinois Same-Sex Couple Facing Terminal Illness Can Marry Immediately

Marriage equality is now law in Illinois, but that law does not take effect until June 1, 2014. A federal judge has ruled, however, that one same-sex couple will not have to wait.

Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert have been in a committed relationship for five years, but Gray has been fighting cancer since 1996 and her life is now in serious jeopardy. Because of her terminal illness, a judge granted a restraining order ensuring she can marry now. Here’s how Gray responded to the news:

GRAY: I have two cancers, bone and brain and I just had chemo today — I am so happy to get this news. I’m excited to be able to marry and take care of Pat, my partner and my family, should I pass.


Gray and Ewert will thus become the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Illinois.