Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, a Roman Catholic who says she doesn’t feel “my faith interferes with my judicial responsibilities,” has become the first member of the state’s high court to officiate at same-sex marriages.
Burke performed her first same-sex wedding ceremony three weeks ago. Then, on Monday, she performed a double wedding at the Keith House, a historic mansion in the South Loop, of a brother and sister who both wed their long-term partners.
“It’s the law and is part of the duties of a judge to preside over civil weddings,” Burke said Saturday. “A lot of these people have been my friends for a long time, and they have been together for decades. It’s only right that they are able to be together in a recognized marriage under the laws of the state.
“I have watched how difficult it has been for them not being able to enjoy the benefits and privileges of marriage.
The Illinois Legislature passed a law last year legalizing same-sex marriage as of June 1, and in February a federal judge declared the state’s existing ban unconstitutional.
Burke, whose stance on same-sex marriage is at odds with that of the church, said: “I will not step back from this position. It is a right one. And that’s what important.”
The judge has also differed dramatically with the church and with Cardinal Francis George on other issues. Burke, who headed an advisory board to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the priest child-sex-abuse scandal, once accused the cardinal of being “disingenuous” about what he knew about the crisis