An Illinois county which decided to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples early has celebrated its thousandth gay wedding.

Illinois had been due to begin same-sex marriages on June 1, but after a judge ruled in February that the state’s marriage ban was unconstitutionalCook County decided to start issuing licenses immediately.

Clerk David Orr told Associated Press that yesterday he issued the 1000th same-sex marriage license in downtown Chicago, to a gay couple from Albany Park neighbourhood.

Cook County permits couples from other counties and states to marry there, and Orr said that a large number of marriages had been out-of-state.

Couples from 24 US states have so far married in Cook County, and top states include Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Florida.

Several other Illinois counties have also started issuing marriage licenses, though some are still waiting until June 1.

Seventeen states and Washington DC currently recognise same-sex marriages, and court cases and appeals in several other states are currently pending.