In a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a ban on same sex marriage Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) has officially sided with the plaintiffs’. After Cook County refused to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples, a group of couples came together to file a lawsuit against Cook County. Madigan has filed papers joining the lawsuit.
Madigan, as attorney general, is meant to uphold the state law. By denouncing the state’s law it begs to question, who will be arguing on behalf of the law? As in the case of Proposition 8 in California, when Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) opposed the state’s constitution to legalise same-sex marriage (despite a state referendum upholding Proposition 8), are we again seeing one individual using their position to change the definition of marriage for all?
In California the legality of Proposition 8 was upheld, there were those in place who could oppose Jerry Brown’s plan. However, in Illinois there is no credible force to fight for marriage. The state’s legislature is controlled by democrats, who overwhelmingly support same-sex marriage, and the Speaker of the House is Michael Madigan, Lisa Madigan’s father.
The details of the case are taken from MetroWeekly:
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) will be joining Lambda Legal and the ACLU in arguing that Illinois’s civil unions law does not meet the state’s constitutional guarantees of equal protection, raising the question of what the Cook County clerk of courts — the named defendant — will do in its response to the lawsuits.
The move came just two days after Lambda Legal and the ACLU each filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the civil union law.
In a pair of June 1 filings in Darby v. Orr and Lazaro v. Orr, which were reviewed by Metro Weekly, the attorney general’s office has requested to intervene in the cases, which it says is appropriate because state law permits a court to allow the state to intervene when the validity of a state law is at issue. The Attorney General’s Office is not requesting to intervene to defend the laws, however, which is the usual reason for such intervention.
In the requests, Madigan writes, “Petitioner respectfully requests the right to intervene in this case to present the Court with arguments that explain why the challenged statutory provisions do not satisfy the guarantee of equality under the Illinois Constitution.”
On June 25, the Attorney General’s Office will make the request to intervene in Darby, which was brought by Lambda Legal. On June 26, the office will make the intervention request in Lazaro, which was brought by the ACLU.
The move sets up the unusual question of who will be defending the law in the lawsuits. Although the named defendant is Cook County Clerk of Courts David Orr (D) (who is represented in legal challenges by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez (D)), Madigan is the chief legal officer of the state and her view that the state law is unconstitutional is significant.