A second county in the US state of Illinois has begun issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples early.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the state’s equal marriage bill into law in December, however same-sex weddings are still only set to take place from June 1, 2014 when the law takes effect.

Following the lead of Cook County last week, Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten has now said gay residents of his county can marry.

He said if the ban on gay couples marrying “is unconstitutional in Cook County it’s unconstitutional in Champaign County.”

Since the Cook County ruling came from a lawsuit, Mr Hulten also said he wanted to save gay couples the cost of a lawsuit specific to his county.

Equal marriage advocates hope that other Illinois counties will follow suit.

Illinois was the 16th US state to allow same-sex marriage.