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      Illinois court ruling allows first gay marriage early

      Two Chicago women have become the first couple to take their vows under the new same-sex marriage law in Illinois.

      Patricia Ewert and Vernita Gray married in a private ceremony Wednesday, just days after a judge agreed to expedite their wedding because of Gray's terminal illness.

      Illinois became the 16th state to legalize gay marriage this month. State law says the marriages can't begin until June 1.

      The women, who are in their mid-60s, filed a lawsuit in federal court last week asking for an expedited marriage license because of Gray's cancer. She had surgery over the summer to remove a tumor from her brain.

      A judge ordered the license Monday, and Cook County clerk officials hand-delivered it.

      They have been engaged since 2009 and hoped to marry in Illinois.