Last Friday, Vernita Gray (left) and Pat Ewert filed an emergency lawsuit seeking to marry in Illinois before marriage equality officially goes into effect on June 1. Gray has cancer that has spread to her bones and brain and has been told she only has weeks to live. On Monday, federal Judge Thomas Durkin ordered the Cook County clerk to issue the expedited marriage license, a privilege granted similarly situated straight couples.
"Vernita is terminally ill and she wishes to marry the woman she loves before she dies—and now she won't have to wait another day," Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal, said in a press release. "These two women, who have loved and cared for each other in good times and bad, through sickness and through health, will get to know what it means to be married."
"I have two cancers—bone and brain—and I just had chemo today. I am so happy to get this news. I'm excited to be able to marry and take care of Pat, my partner and my family, should I pass," said Gray in a press release. Gray was first diagnosed with cancer in 1996. She and Ewert have been together for more than five years. They celebrated a civil union in Chicago on June 2, 2011 (pictured), and are expected to marry later this week.