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Federal judge OKs emergency marriages in Illinois if one of the partners has life-threatening illness

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHICAGO -- A federal court is ordering an Illinois county clerk's office to issue a marriage license to any same-sex couple who wants to wed immediately because one of them has a life-threatening illness.

Illinois last month became the 16th state to legalize gay marriage, but couples can't apply for licenses until June 1.

But following U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman order Monday to the Cook County clerk's office, they will be able to marry straightaway if they can provide a doctor's note saying one partner has a life-threatening illness.

Two Chicago women became the first same-sex couple to wed in Illinois last month after they asked a federal judge for an expedited license. Gay rights advocates say three gay couples have been granted emergency marriage license applications in Cook County.

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