Patricia Ewert, Vernita Gray First Same-Sex Marriage In Illinois

Patricia Ewert and Vernita Gray are two Chicago women who made history today as they said their vows and became the first same-sex couple to get married in Illinois. According to the Chicago Tribune, the couple are well known as gay-rights activists, and were nothing but smiles as they were married Wednesday afternoon as the states first legal same-sex marriage.

Ewert and Gray are well known in the LGBTQ. In 2011, they were one of the first couples to be joined in a civil union when the practice became law according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The couple made news last week when they filed a lawsuit on Friday arguing that they should be allowed to marry early because of Gray’s poor health.

The Inquisitr reported earlier this month that Illinois lawmakers approved gay marriage in a vote of 61-54 on November 5, 2013. From there, the bill was sent off to Governor Pat Quinn, who signed it into law last week. According to the Huffington Post, the new law doesn’t take effect until June 1, 2014 and because of Gray’s terminal cancer, the two were allowed to marry nearly six months before the law officially went into effect.

“This is the realization of a very long cherished dream for them both,” Camilla Taylor, the head of the legal advocacy group Lambda Legal, which helped represent the couple, said before the ceremony. The Chicago Tribune continued on to quote Taylor saying the following:

“Every day is crucial for same-sex couples like Vernita and Pat, who may not be able to and shouldn’t have to wait until next summer to get married,” said Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project director for Lambda Legal. “We’re thankful for the swift action by the court and the Cook County Clerk’s office to allow this to happen as soon as possible, and we’re beyond thrilled for Vernita and Pat, who are now able to say ‘We’re married.'”

Ewert and Gray’s wedding ceremony was a small one, taking place in their living room. It only lasted about half an hour, but he two women were nothing but excited as they finally were able to realize their dreams of becoming a married couple.

[Image via Shutterstock/Tristan3D]