Memorial Scheduled for LGBT Activist Vernita Gray

Gray and her longtime partner, Pat Ewert, were the state's first same-sex couple to legally wed

View Comments (


    Vernita Gray was one-half of the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Illinois. Emily Florez reports.

    A memorial service has been planned to honor the life and legacy of longtime Chicago activist Vernita Gray.

    Gray was one half of Illinois' first same-sex couple to legally marry in the state. She died early Wednesday after a long fight with cancer at the age of 65.

    A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, March 31 at the Goodman Theatre, at 170 N. Dearborn St.

    Gray and her wife, Pat Ewert, were legally married in November, shortly after Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation allowing same sex marriage in Illinois. That law doesn't take effect until June 1, but Gray and Ewert won a court battle to expedite their ceremony due to Gray's failing health.

    Gay Couple on Expedited Marriage: "I Was Stunned"

    [CHI] Gay Couple on Expedited Marriage: "I Was Stunned"
    The U.S. District Court in Chicago this week ordered the county clerk to issue an early marriage license to an Illinois same-sex couple, one of whom is terminally ill. Mary Ann Ahern exclusively talks to Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert.

    Gray was a longtime employee of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. She was first diagnosed with brain and bone cancer in 1996 and her relationship with Ewert spanned more than five years.

    The Windy City Times, which first reported her passing, offered a comprehensive look at Gray's years of LGBT activism.