More than two dozen gay and lesbian couples in Illinois are suing the Cook County Clerk's office because it does not issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the gay advocacy group Lambda Legal filed suit on their behalf, challenging a state law that bans gay marriage.
Illinois does allow civil unions, but gay marriage supporters say that doesn't give equal protection.
"It's time for Illinois to treat these couples fairly. We've waited long enough for something too many take for granted," said John Knight of the ACLU.
However, defenders of traditional marriage like Robert Gilligan of the Catholic Conference of Illinois said the state should not change the definition of marriage.
"Marriage is the union between one man and one woman, and it's a unique institution that binds parents with their biological children," he said.
There is legislation pending to strip the current law of language forbidding same-sex marriage, but it is not scheduled to be heard before the legislative session ends this week.