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Illinois legalizes gay marriages

CHICAGO (AP) - Gay and lesbian couples across Illinois can be legally wed as the state becomes the latest in the nation to allow same-sex marriage.

June 1 marks the first day all of Illinois' 102 counties can issue the licenses to same-sex couples. It's also the first day couples statewide who have civil unions can ask to convert those to a marriage.

Sunday's celebration is anticlimactic for some, because 16 counties began issuing marriage licenses following a February federal court ruling.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed the law in November. Equality Illinois, a gay-rights advocacy group, estimates about 1,300 same-sex licenses have been issued since then.

Bernard Cherkasov is the group's CEO. He calls Sunday "a history-making day in Illinois."


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