ILLINOIS, June 5, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has joined a legal effort to impose same-sex “marriage” on the state, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Madigan’s office filed a notice Friday that she will intervene in favor of lawsuits filed by Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of twenty-five same-sex couples. The suits allege that by not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the Cook County clerk’s office is violating the equal-protection and due process rights of same-sex couples under the Illinois Constitution.

Madigan has pledged to take the plaintiffs’ side in court and “explain why the challenged statutory provisions do not satisfy the guarantee of equality under the Illinois Constitution.”

Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn favors redefining marriage, and Cook County Clerk David Orr has also expressed his support for the lawsuits.

“As everyone who has followed this issue knows, I fully support the right of people to marry, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation,” Orr said. “Nobody should have to pass a gender test to get a marriage license.”

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But conservative critics argue that the cases are clearly without merit, and blasted the attorney general for reneging on her duty to defend the law.

“The Attorney General’s job is to defend the laws of Illinois, not deep-pocketed special interest groups,” said Thomas More Society executive director and legal counsel Peter Breen. “True equality comes from each citizen’s vote being equally valued and the legislative process being respected, not circumvented by those who wish to subvert the will of the people.”

Breen also criticized arguments that the state’s laws reserving marriage to a man and a woman violate the right to privacy and equal protection.

“To date, the state right of privacy has been limited to protecting personal information and evidence gathering in criminal cases, not personal conduct,” he said. “And, in any event, the state right of privacy does not require the State of Illinois to give public recognition to a private relationship.”

“Finally, as many state and federal courts have acknowledged, the marriage law does not discriminate on the basis of sex because neither sex is allowed to enter into a same-sex marriage,” he added.

In a phone interview with LifeSiteNews, Breen said he expects the suits to fail, but would refrain from predicting how exactly the process will unfold until the state’s attorney for Cook County, Anita Alvarez, comments on the case.

“We fully expect the state’s attorney to defend the clerk and defend state law, and then for us to support her in that effort,” Breen said. “If that doesn’t occur we are researching and investigating the alternatives.”

In a statement released on May 30, the Illinois Family Institute noted that same-sex couples already enjoy “all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of marriage” under the state’s civil union law, meaning that homosexual activists are really agitating for the “symbolic victory” of same-sex “marriage,” not to alleviate actual discrimination.

“It’s now painfully obvious that the purpose for securing civil unions legislation last year was to gain legal leverage in the left’s attempt to overturn the IL Defense of Marriage law,” said IFI executive director David E. Smith.

This is not Attorney General Madigan’s first foray into homosexual activism. Last year, the conservative Illinois Review obtained documents revealing that Madigan sent letters to six faith-based adoption agencies accusing them of “discriminat[ing] against Illinois citizens based on religion, marital status and sexual orientation in its provision of adoption and foster care services” for refusing to place children with same-sex couples.