Chicago Woman Dying Of Cancer Weds Her Partner In The State's First Gay Marriage

First Illinois gay marraigeREUTERS/John GressVernita Grey (L) and Pat Ewert kiss after their Civil Union ceremony in Chicago, June 2, 2011. The state now allows marriages.

Chicagowoman who is dying of cancer wed her partner on Wednesday in the first legal gay marriage to be celebrated in
Illinois, six months before the state’s law recognising gay unions takes effect.

The cancer patient, Vernita Grey, 64, and Patricia Ewert, 65, were wed in a private ceremony in their Chicago home two days after they were granted an emergency marriage licence in federal court, according to Lambda Legal, a legal group that advocates for gay rights.

Illinois‘ gay marriage law, signed by Gov. Pat Quinn last week, does not take effect until June 1, 2014. The couple had sued, arguing the delay discriminated against them by preventing the couple from marrying before Grey’s death.

“I’m so excited for us and for the community, for today is a beginning. One so richly deserved,” said Grey in a statement.

Illinois last week became the 16th state to recognise same-sex marriages. That was the latest in a series of gay rights victories, as Hawaii earlier in the month approved gay marriages and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in October dropped his appeal of a court ruling that legalized same-sex nuptials.

This post originally appeared at Reuters. Copyright 2013.

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