Vernita Gray, half of first married same-sex couple in Illinois, dies

Written By BY MAUREEN O’DONNELL Staff Reporter Posted: 03/19/2014, 11:06am

Vernita Gray, half of the first same-sex couple to exchange marriage vows in Illinois, has died.

A federal judge had expedited the marriage license for Gray and Patricia Ewert because of Gray’s terminal cancer.

Her death was first reported by Windy City Times.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel paid tribute to her Wednesday.

“Today we mourn the passing of a fearless woman who spent her life fighting for equality and civil rights,” he said in a statement. “Vernita Gray was an inspiration to all who crossed her path, from President Obama who knew her by name to the victims of violence she comforted and the young people for whom she was a fierce advocate. Her legacy can be felt in the many institutions she supported and by every LGBT couple in Illinois who is now free to marry the person they love. My thoughts and prayers are with her wife Pat Ewert, her family, and the community of friends who loved her so dearly.”

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