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Judge orders expedited marriage for Illinois gay couple

Illinois won't have to wait until next summer to see its first same-sex marriage.

The U.S. District Court in Chicago on Monday ordered Cook County's clerk to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, one of whom is terminally ill.

"I have two cancers, bone and brain and I just had chemo today," said Vernita Gray. "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."

County Clerk David Orr said he would comply with the court's order, handed down by Judge Thomas Durkin.

Gray, who was first diagnosed with cancer in 1996, has been in a relationship with Patricia Ewert for five years. But her cancer now imminently threatens her life, according to a statement from Lamda Legal.

The emergency suit, filed by Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois, sought immediate action for the women.

"These two women, who have loved and cared for each other in good times and bad, through sickness and through health, will get to know what it means to be married," said Lamda Legal's Camilla Taylor.

Orr said his office will expedite a marriage license to Gray and Taylor, adding it's a service already granted to heterosexual couples in similar situations.

Gov. Pat Quinn less than a week ago signed SB10 into law, making Illinois the 16th state in the nation to allow for same-sex marriages. The District of Columbia also permits gay marriage.

Illinois' law allows same-sex couples to get marriage licenses as of June 1, 2014, three years after the state began allowing civil unions.

— NBC Chicago