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Lambda Legal, whose lawsuit has 16 couples, and the ACLU share the same goal to legalize gay marriage in Illinois but decided to pursue separate lawsuits because they have different historic missions. The lawsuits also slightly differ in legal reasoning.

Lambda Legal’s lawsuit includes Janean Watkins and Lakeesha Harris, who were the first couple in line last year to get a civil union license from Cook County. They have been together for a dozen years and are raising six children, who are the reason Watkins wants to be married.

“We have the kids, it’s important for them to see that the relationship we’re in is validated by the state,” she said.

Associated Press writer Erin Gartner contributed to this report.