It’s a bittersweet love story.
A couple desperate to marry before it becomes too late.
For this couple time is of the essence – because one of them is terminally ill.
Vernita Gray has cancer on her brain and bones and wants to marry Patricia Ewert, the woman she loves before she dies.
The problem is that she lives in Illinois in the US and gay marriage laws do not take effect in Illinois until June 1, 2014.
Vernita says that she doesn’t have seven months left. She isn’t sure if she has seven days left.
The gay rights group Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois filed a lawsuit seeking immediate action for the pair hoping to help them expedite the legislation.
For these tow – they have always been destined to marry. They met at an event hosted by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office and became friends. They began dating shortly after, fell in love and got engaged in 2009.
In June 2013, Gray learned that the breast cancer she was suffering from had spread to her brain.
She has had brain surgery since then but was recently told she may have only days or weeks to live.
In court on Monday, the couple’s attorneys argued that they deserved the license they were lobbying for because of Gray’s grim prognosis.
The County Clerk office chose not to defend itself against the lawsuit.
The Federal Judge ruled that because of the special circumstance, the women should get a marriage license. The ruling affects only them but could serve as an inspiration for other couples facing similar situations, their attorneys said.
“This case illustrates the cruelty of being made to wait seven months to be able to marry,” their lawyer said to the Chicago Tribune.
“There is no sense to that, and there are many Illinois families that are suffering significant harm because they are not married. While this family’s situation is particularly dire, there are others, too, who need to be able to marry.”
The couple said they were stunned at the victory and given Gray’s medical issues, it’s important for each to have the rights and benefits that come with marriage.
“Because I’m ill, I can’t be here for myself, so in sickness and in health has real meaning to us. It’s like Christmas, a birthday, tooth fairy all rolled in one”