(KMOV) – The St. Clair County Clerk is now accepting same-sex marriage applications, nearly three months before Illinois’ gay marriage law takes effect.
Clerk Thomas Holbrook decided to accept the applications after Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said that all counties can immediately issue the licenses and Federal Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman determined on Feb. 21 that Illinois’ gay marriage ban was unconstitutional.
"I think to be fair to the citizens of St. Clair County that we will have these applications available,” said Holbrook.
Holbrook will make the decision whether or not to issue a same-sex marriage license, but before he does he says he’ll consult with State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly on a case-by-case basis. If approved, Holbrook says, the new licenses could be issued in a matter of days.
"I value (Kelly’s) opinion, and he's the caretaker of those issues for the county,” says Holbrook.
Kelly says he would recommend approval in certain circumstances, noting possible legal issues with benefits, wills, and health decisions before the law officially take effect June 1st.
Critics of the decision to move forward with gay marriage in Illinois before June 1st, say it’s not up to County Clerks to decide when the law begins.
"Making and implementing law is strictly a function of the General Assembly. Ignoring the proper roles of the three branches of government sets an extremely dangerous precedent,” said David E. Smith with Illinois Family Institute in a statement.
Madison County officials are still reviewing information and have yet to take a position on accepting same-sex applications and issuing licenses.
More than a dozen county clerks have told the Associated Press they will not rush the issue.