Illinois same-sex couple gets marriage license before law goes into effect

BY newsdesk  November 27, 2013 at 4:20 PM EST

Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert are getting married this week in Illinois, seven months before the new marriage law goes into effect, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Ewert, 65, and Gray, 64, filed a lawsuit on Nov. 22 for the right to marry immediately due to Gray’s terminal cancer, according to their attorneys. A federal court ordered the county clerk to issue the marriage license because of their special circumstances.

“This has been an amazingly wonderful surprise and we are thrilled beyond belief,” Ewert told the Chicago Tribune. “The judge was an amazing human being who understands our struggle. I’m surprised, happy, delighted.”

Gray and Ewert entered into a civil union in 2011, and Gray’s last wish is to marry her partner of five years, their attorneys said. Illinois’ gay marriage law officially goes into effect June 1, 2014.