Legal marriage for same-sex couples became law on November 20, 2013 and took effect on June 1, 2014.
Allowing committed same-sex couples to get married does not change the meaning of marriage. It changes who has access.
Civil marriage for same-sex couples does not affect religious marriages, religious institutions or clergy in any way. No legal marriage law has ever required any religion to be forced to marry same-sex couples, or recognize same-sex marriages within the context of their religious beliefs.
What defines a marriage is love and commitment, and the ability to protect your family. Marriage strengthens all families. It gives couples the tools and the security to build a life together and to protect their family.
Couples marry because they want to be together through sickness and health, when times are good and when things get tough. State and federal marriage laws provide a safety net of legal and economic protections for married couples and their children – including the ability to visit a spouse in the hospital, and to transfer property, which can mean being able to remain in the family home when a spouse has passed away.
While there have been attempts to create marriage-like relationship systems — Domestic Partnership registrations and Civil Unions — they don’t provide the same security and protections on a national level.
On October 20, 1975, Chicagoians Nancy Davis, 22, and Toby Schneiter, 20, requested a marriage license at the Cook County Marriage License Bureau. Refused, staged a sit-in and a hunger strike. Deputies removed them, and released them outside, whereupon Davis and Schneiter marched back and continued their sit-in. They were arrested and put in the county lock up overnight. The next morning, instead of showing up for their court appearance, they went back to the Marriage License Bureau for a third sit-in. This time, they were jailed for a week, during which they continued their hunger strike. At the time, Schneiter was married to an immigrant male, whose chances of staying in the country could have become jeopardized.
By the summer of 1976, Nancy Davis and Toby Schneiter had spent more than 120 days in jail. They were sentenced to a year in prison, but only served 6 months in Cook County Jail. They were released in February, 1977. Davis found another woman to marry, engaged in yet another Marriage License Bureau sit-in, and received yet another 364-day sentence.
In 1989, Chicago couple Rex Wockner and Paul Varnell, file complaints with the Illinois Department of Human Rights charging the state with sex discrimination because it refuses to allow same-sex marriages.
On February 14, 1990 (Valentine's Day), Buddy Bell and Dale Fecker applied for, and were denied, marriage licenses at the Cook County Clerk’s Office in Chicago. Bell and Fecker, as well as Jeff Graubart, Dan Ware, Danielle Karczewski, Erica Chu, and Nick Ferrin protested and were arrested. About 400 protesters had already rallied outside the Bureau. The Cook County State’s Attorneys Office indicated it was not going to prosecute, and the judge had the arrests stricken.
Anti-Gay Marriage Ban Attempts
In 1996, Hawaii seemed poised to legalize same-sex marriage, which propelled anti-gay sentiments to amended the “Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act” to prohibit marriage between two individuals of the same sex. It also stated that “marriage between 2 individuals of the same sex is contrary to the public policy of this State.”
Attempts in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2011, to add language banning same-sex marriage to the State Constitution have not been successful.
Among those anti-gay, anti-marriage equality voices was the GOP gubernatorial nomination, Bill Brady, who wanted to change the State Constitution to ban same-sex marriages. Sen. Brady (R-Bloomington): “I’m trying to give the government back to the people.”
Perhaps Brady meant to say “back only to the straight people.” His proposals also banned civil unions, and he voted against a state law, passed in 2005, that banned discrimination against gay men and lesbians in housing and employment.
Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago) introduced the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Bill on February 23, 2007. It aimed to make the creation, benefits, and dissolution of civil unions essentially identical to marriage. The bill was not brought to a vote before the full House.
On February 18, 2009, Rep. Harris re-introduced the Civil Union bill, which was reported out of committee on a 4–3 vote along party lines, with Democrats in support and Republicans opposed, but died on the floor.
Instead of proceeding with that bill, Harris’s committee substituted the language for that in a bill already before the committee on May 26, 2009. On November 30, 2010, the House passed the bill, by 61–52. The Senate approved it on December 1, by 32–24. Governor Pat Quinn signed the legislation on January 31, 2011, and it went into effect on June 1, 2011.
Following the Governor’s signature of the 2013 law that legalized same-sex marriage, civil unions remain in effect and operative for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. Couples who want to convert their civil union to a marriage can do so, with, or without, performing a new ceremony, for up to one year from the date that the marriage law took effect (June 1, 2014). Those couples will be exempt from paying a fee. The date of the marriage will be recorded as the date of the original civil union. Couples who wait longer than one year, will have to perform a new ceremony and pay a fee.
Same-Sex Marriage Legislation
On February 22, 2007, Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago) introduced the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Bill in the Illinois House of Representatives, which would have provided for same-sex marriage. The bill died in committee. On January 14, 2009, Harris reintroduced the bill in the new session, but it, once again, died in committee. In October that year, Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) introduced the Equal Marriage Bill, the first same-sex marriage bill filed in the Senate, but it too died in committee.
In February 2012, Harris introduced his bill again. On December 13, Rep. Harris and Sen. Steans announced plans for the General Assembly to consider the legislation before it dissolved early in January 2013.
On January 2, 2013, at the end of the 97th General Assembly, Steans re-introduced her bill as an amendment to an unrelated Senate bill. After a legislative misstep, she again introduced the legislation as an amendment, this time to a House bill. The Senate Executive Committee approved the amendment on January 3, 2013, sending it to the full Senate for a floor vote, but the bill fell with the beginning of the 98th General Assembly on January 9, 2013.
Steans and Harris filed new bills on January 9 and 10. Steans’s bill was approved by the Senate Executive Committee on February 5, 2013. On February 14, 2013, the Senate approved the bill 34-21. Governor Pat Quinn has said he will sign the bill into law if the Illinois House of Representatives also passes it. On February 26, 2013, the Illinois House Executive Committee approved the bill 6-5.
Harris, anticipating his bill’s defeat, did not call for a vote before the legislature adjourned on May 31, but instead extended the deadline for its approval until August 31, allowing for it to be considered by a special session of the legislature, if Governor Quinn identified it for consideration. A special session was held on pension reform, the same-sex marriage bill, however, was not included. Instead, LGBT organizations, and the bill’s sponsors, focused on increasing support for the legislation, with the goal of holding a vote in the October and November veto session of the House and Senate.
The House of Representatives passed a bill (SB10) legalizing same-sex marriage 61-54 vote on November 5, 2013, narrowly achieving the 60-vote threshold. The state Senate quickly approved the amended bill 32-21 and Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill into law on November 20. The law went into effect on June 1, 2014, enabling same-sex couples to request marriage licenses on that date and perform ceremonies (after the mandatory one-day waiting period) from June 2, 2014.
Pro and Con Quotes
In February 2012, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he would work for the passage of a same-sex marriage bill.
On May 11, 2012, Governor Pat Quinn said he was looking forward to building a majority for the legislation, and reiterated his support for same-sex marriage.
A spokesman for Catholic Conference of Illinois reiterated its opposition.
Another opponent, Sen. Tim Bivins, noted that in comparable lame duck legislative sessions, Gov. Quinn had rewarded legislators who changed their votes with positions in his administration.
On December 29, 2012, Shin Inouye, a spokesman for President Barack Obama, reported the president’s endorsement of the legislation: “While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect. As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so. Were the President still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally.”
On January 1, 2013, Archbishop of Chicago Francis, Cardinal George in a letter to Roman Catholic parishioners wrote that enacting same-sex marriage was: “Acting against the common good of society. … The state has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible.”
For several weeks, Pat Brady, state Republican Chairman, lobbied legislators to support the legislation, calling it: “An issue of equality, and we’re the party of Lincoln.” Other party leaders called for his resignation.
On January 10, Methodist Bishop Sally Dyck endorsed the legislation, even though her church forbids her from celebrating such marriages. She wrote to church conference members: “While the United Methodist Church holds that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, it also holds the teaching and a long tradition (albeit a struggle every inch of the way) of civil rights. Marriage equality is a civil rights issue; it provides for all what is afforded to some.”
On January 13 2013, a group of business leaders, including representatives of Google, Orbitz, and Morningstar, asked legislators to consider the economic advantages of enacting same-sex marriage, noting: “Human capital drives innovation and growth. … Marriage equality would strengthen the workforces of Illinois employers.”
On November 5, 2013, President Obama sent this message via twitter: “This is huge. … the Illinois House just passed marriage equality.”
The White House also released a statement by the President stating: “As President, I have always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally under the law. Over time, I also came to believe that same-sex couples should be able to get married like anyone else. So tonight, Michelle and I are overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois whose love will now be as legal as ours – and for their friends and family who have long wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and equally under the law.”
Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel tweeted his reaction: “With one vote, countless couples will be acknowledged for what they are, under the law – families just like everyone else. Great day!”
Bishop Larry D. Trotter, who helped lead opposition to the bill, applauded legislators “who stood up for God. Regardless of the passage of SB10, we will always believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. “Yet we will still love the members of the LGBT community. We pray God’s Grace, Mercy and Blessings over the state of Illinois and the United States of America.”
On May 30, 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) represented 9 couples in a lawsuit, Lazaro v. Orr, challenging the refusal of the Cook County Clerk’s office, headed by David Orr, to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The Lazaro v. Orr Couples
- Tanya Lazaro and Elizabeth “Liz” Matos live on Chicago’s far Northwest side with their children, Jaiden 2, and a newborn daughter, Sophia. Since meeting more than 15 years ago, Tanya and Liz have built a life together, based on what they describe as their “shared values and a common commitment to one another and their family.” Tanya is a Detective in the Violent Crimes Unit. “It is remarkable that Tanya risks her life serving and protecting the people of Chicago, but Illinois does not fully recognize the family we have built together,” says Liz. Liz works as a senior software analyst at a software company that supports trading firms in downtown Chicago. “We didn’t want to get a civil union just to have some legal benefits and protections,” says Tanya. “We love each other; we are committed to one another – anything short of marriage just does not recognize that love and commitment.”
- Lynn Sprout and Kathie Spegal live in a quiet Champaign neighborhood. Lynn is a registered nurse and works at a federally qualified health center. She met Kathie in October in 2001 at church, where Lynn was attending a support group after losing her long-time partner Linda, after an extended illness. Linda’s death was very difficult for Lynn. She lost her job at a local hospital after they denied family leave to care for Linda, and faced challenges to her ability to make decisions about Linda’s body, and have their family recognized in an obituary after Linda passed away. Worst of all for Lynn, she says, is that “My children were harmed. Linda was very important to my children. But because our relationship was not a marriage, they were treated like they’d suffered no loss at all. I don’t want that to ever happen again.” “We are in love,” says Kathie. “We want to be married. That is what people in our family who are in love do.”
- Ross “Randy” and Robert “Bob” Carey-Walden, together for seven years, live in Springfield, Illinois where Randy, has a Ph.D. in Health Administration and works for the Army National Guard. Bob works for a major power company. Bob and Randy care for rescue dogs and cats, share a deep love of the outdoors, and are active in their local synagogue. For Randy, meeting Bob was part of a process of recovery after he lost his long-time partner Curt to cancer. When things turned for the worst, Randy took Curt to a local Springfield hospital, where personnel regularly quizzed Randy about his relationship to Curt, and ignored Curt’s Health Care Power of Attorney naming Randy as Curt’s decision maker. On numerous occasions, hospital staff asked Curt’s parents to make medical decisions.They always politely explain that Randy was the one to ask. Denied the right to stay overnight with Curt, Randy left his contact information with the nurses and pleaded with them to call if Curt’s condition worsened. One morning, unable to reach Curt, Randy phoned the nurses’ station. In a whispered voice, the nurse told Randy that Curt was not doing well, and that he had better come se him. When Randy arrived, Curt woke long enough to say “I love you” to Randy. These were the last words he ever spoke. Bob and Randy fear that their relationship could be ignored, because their civil union isn’t well understood or given the respect of a marriage.
- Michelle Mascaro and Corynne Romine, togetther since 1991, met at work, when they were in chaplaincy internships at Rush Presbyterian Hospital. They have three children, ages 14, 12 and 11. For Michelle and Corynne, one of the most painful things about not having their relationship honored as a marriage in Illinois is the impact on their children of learning that their parents cannot marry. Says Michelle: “As our children mature, we are trying to teach them important life lessons about honoring relationships and respecting the family unit. It is difficult to communicate a message about the importance of marriage when we are denied the right to enter into one.” They spend as much time as possible with the children, attending events at their children’s school, church, sports teams and other activities. On January 6, 2012, Michelle and Corynne, along with their children, obtain a civil union. The date marked the 20th anniversary of their relationship. When they go to the doctor for themselves, or for their children, they often are confronted with forms that ask if they are “married, single, divorced or widowed.” A reminder that their relationship isn’t understood, or accepted, and is easily ignored.
- Tim Kee and Rick Wade have been together for 15 years now, and are well-recognized and regarded in their hometown of Marion. For Rick and Tim, tradition and stability is critical. They live in a house built on land that was Rick’s great-great-grandparents’ homestead that was passed on to Rick by his grandmother. Tim was born and raised in nearby Johnson City where he now teaches in the elementary school. Previously, Tim taught in the high school in Johnson City. Rick is an office manager for an optometry practice. They attend, and are active in, the church in Johnson City where Tim was baptized and confirmed. On June 2, 2011, Rick and Tim got a civil union. “No one grows up hoping to be ‘civil unionized’” says Tim. “At the end of the day, it’s just not the same as being married. We want our love and our relationship to be recognized as a marriage.”
- Carlos Briones and Richard Rykhus live in Evanston with their 7-year-old son Ty’rith (Ty). A couple for eleven years, Richard and Carlos held a commitment ceremony with family and friends in July 2005. “We wanted to tell the world that we are committed to one another,” says Carlos. “It was important to make a statement that our love was permanent, lasting.” A few months later, Carlos and Richard were married in Canada. Now, they make a point of calling one another “husband.” Says Richard: “I think it is crucial for me to identify Carlos as my husband. The word ‘partner’ never has worked for me; it sounds so transactional. We are not in a business relationship. We are in a life-long committed relationship.” Carlos, who teaches philosophy at a local college, says that early in each semester, he lets his students know that he is married. Says Carlos: “While we were married in Canada, the marriage isn’t recognized in Illinois. That seems wrong.”
- Suzanna Hutton and Danielle Cook are teachers in Bloomington, Illinois. Suzie says that she and Danielle were almost “complete opposites.” After more than a decade together, now they want to have the dignity of being recognized as married in their home state. They have celebrated their love and relationship with friends and family members through a commitment ceremony. And, in June of 2011, they entered into a civil union. They feel that the civil union “falls short” of being married, sometimes because it is not respected, and often because it is not understood by others, and used on official government and medical forms.
“We love and care for one another. We share good news and bad news, happiness and sadness. We deserve to be treated with the dignity that only marriage affords.”
- Kirsten and Tanya Lyonsford have two children, Andrea and Zachary, where they live in Aurora. They knew that they were right for each another since almost the first moment they met, during a September 1999 diversity training program. In October 2002, Kirsten and Tanya held a Christian, commitment wedding ceremony, with family, friends and colleagues. Says Kirsten: “We are a family. We love one another. We love our children. We have built a life together where we are responsible to one another and for one another. We simply want the ability to marry, to share that respect and recognition with every other married couple who shares the joys and pains of going through life together.” Says Tanya: “It also is important for Andrea and Zachary that we are able to marry. We brought them into our family, because we wanted them to have the security of a loving and stable family that cares and loves one another. We want to be able to tell them as they mature that their parents are married, and that the entire world recognizes the love and bond that we feel.”
- Ed Hamilton, 74, and Gary Magruder, 69, together more than 48 years, live in a home in Plainfield, which they built together. The walls are filled with art work that Gary painted. The couple met at the party of a mutual friend in 1964, and began what Gary describes gleefully as a “courtship.” Gary grew up in Kankakee County and spent time on his grandparents’ farm as a youth, so he was impressed when Ed took him to the theater and to the opera. After a few months, they found an apartment together and remained inseparable. Ed and Gary are retired educators. In January 2004, they married in Canada, on their 40th anniversary. They want their marriage, which is the pinnacle of their nearly half century relationship, to be recognized in Illinois. It will help insure that they are able to care for each other through the duration of their life and protect the remaining spouse after one passes on. Most of all, they simply want to spend their “golden years” recognized as married in Illinois. They say that after 50 years, it is “about time.”
Also on May 30, 2012, Lambda Legal represented 16 couples in their suit, Darby v. Orr. Both suits contended that the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act violated the Illinois Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.
The Darby v. Orr Couples
- James Darby, 80, and Patrick Bova, 73, have been together for 48 years and live together in Hyde Park, Chicago. James, a proud veteran, was born on the south side of Chicago, where he worked in the stockyards before enlisting in the Navy to serve in the Korean War. He served 4 years before receiving an honorable discharge. James and Patrick wish to marry to better protect each other as they advance in life.
- LaKeesha Harris, 37, and Janean Watkins, 38, have been together 11 years and are raising six children in their Rogers Park, Chicago home. When Lakeesha lost her full-time job and a roof collapse depleted their savings, she and Janean applied for housing assistance but faced repeated misunderstanding by administrators who didn’t know what a civil union was and were unsure if they could apply as a family. Janean and LaKeesha wish to marry to better represent themselves as a family.
- Michelle Chappell, 45, and Michelle Franke, 46, of Champaign have been together 21 years. Together they are raising their daughter Rose who is 9. They want to marry to better protect their family.
- Theresa Volpe, 41, and Mercedes Santos, 46, have been together 20 years and live in Rogers Park, Chicago, with their two children, Ava, 7, and Jaidon, 4. When Jaidon was hospitalized near death for kidney failure, hospital administrators barred Theresa from entering unless she identified herself as a “stepmother,” telling her Mercedes was already inside and Jaidon could only have one “real” mother. Theresa and Mercedes have been together for 21 years and wish to marry so that everyone knows they are both their children’s real mothers.
- Bert Morton, 64, and Lee Korty, 53, of Springfield have been together 30 years. When Bert had a heart attack six years ago both men were frantic to be together during this stressful time and tried to explain their relationship to the hospital staff who barred Lee from Bert’s bedside. All the staff wanted to know was if Bert was married, and after 24 years together it pained him to say no.
- Angelica Lopez, 36, and Claudia Mercado, 36, have been together for 14 years and live in Logan Square, Chicago with their children Isabel, 3, and Indigo, 6 months. Although Angelica and Claudia were happy to receive some degree of state recognition for their commitment to each other through a civil union, they yearn to be able to say that they are married, which evokes a legal, cultural, and symbolic meaning that is not encompassed in any other term.
- Daphne Scott-Henderson, 41, and Ryan Cannon, 34, of Bloomington have been together for 6 years and are raising three children, Sonnet, 15, Autumn 11 and Sebastian, 4. When Ryan gave birth to Sebastian the hospital initially barred Daphne from visiting her son and refused to acknowledge Sonnet and Autumn as half-sisters. Ryan and Daphne want to marry to better protect their family.
- Daryl Rizzo, 47, and Jaime Garcia, 50, have been together for 11 years and live in La Grange with their daughter Siena,4. When Jaime needed an emergency appendectomy at 3 a.m., he and Daryl had to wait for Jaime’s brother to arrive at the hospital to sign various forms because the hospital didn’t recognize Daryl as Jaime’s family. Daryl and Jaime want to marry to protect their daughter and themselves in case of an emergency.
- Lynne Burnett, 55, and Robyne O’Mara, 56, of Godfrey have been together nearly 32 years. When Robyne experienced chest pains the couple raced to the emergency room. The registrar who admitted Robyne asked Lynne who she was and after a lengthy series of questions the hospital staff still didn’t know what a civil union was or understand the couple’s relationship.
- Patricia Garcia, 54, and Julie Barton, 50, of Evanston have been together 20 years. Their daughter Olivia, 15, has often questioned the couple about why they aren’t married. She was crushed to learn that her government bars her parents from marrying.
- Robert Hickok, 42, and Brian Fletcher, 52, have been together 12 years and live in Oak Park with their three children, Jack, 6, Hank, 3, and Ellie, 2. Despite their civil union, Brian and Robert carry numerous legal documents with them wherever they go, including powers of attorney and confidential adoption decrees, for fear that they and their children will not be recognized as a family. Brian and Robert wish to marry to secure their children’s future and to demonstrate, both to each other and to their children, the depth of their commitment to each other.
- Peggy Burton, 65, and Donna O’Crowly, 66, of Bloomington have been together 36 years. The couple, now retired, want to better protect each other as they grow older and worry that they are vulnerable because so many people do not understand what a civil union is.
- Tim Rice, 50, and Don Julian, 51, of Alto Pass, have been together 18 years. The couple celebrated a holy union in their church in 1996 and 15 years later the same pastor united them in a civil union. The couple enjoyed a celebration attended by 150 guests including the village mayor and many family and friends. Even with a supportive community and family network they struggle to explain what a civil union is and it does not signify what Tim and Don mean to each other.
- Anne Dickey, 37, and Laura Hartman, 34, of Rock Island have been together for 7 years and are raising a son, Theodore, 2. Although the couple entered into a civil union they knew in their hearts that it wasn’t “the real thing.” Laura and Anne belong to St. John’s Lutheran Church and are waiting to rejoice with a church celebration on the day they can marry.
- Brandon, 31, and Kevin, 40, Bowersox-Johnson of Urbana have been together 10 years. Together they are raising their son Garrett who is 5. Before they adopted their son they celebrated a commitment ceremony to signal to their family and friends that their child was entering a loving and stable family. After they adopted Garrett, Kevin requested time off from work to which administrators replied, “but you’re the man. Why are you asking for so much time off?” The couple want to marry so that others will better understand their family.
- Bob Proctor, 49, and Hector Martinez, 49, of Peoria have been together 19 years. The couple could not bring themselves to enter into a civil union because it would not reflect the depth of feelings they have for each other.
On June 2, 2012, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that her office will support those lawsuits:
On June 13, 2012, county clerk head David Orr said believes the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is akin to laws that once banned mixed-race couples from marrying, and that “Government should not be discriminating against people. History will show this is the right direction.”
On June 13, 2012, the Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez agreed that the state’s ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional. She stated: “We do believe the equal protection clause of the Illinois Constitution is just that. It protects everybody equally.”
On July 3, the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division, approved the request of two County Clerks from other parts of the state, represented by the Thomas More Society, a conservative legal group, to intervene to defend the Act.
On November 30, 2013, the court denied requests by the Church of Christian Liberty, Grace Gospel Fellowship, and the Illinois Family Institute, opponents of same-sex marriage, to be allowed to intervene to defend the law.
In July 2013, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, the plaintiffs, in both cases, filed motions for summary judgment, asking for a swift ruling in favor of same-sex marriage in Illinois.
On August 6 2013, Circuit Judge Sophia Hall heard arguments and rejected a motion to dismiss the case on September 27, 2013.
Both Lambda Legal and the ACLU have droped their existing lawsuits, upon same-sex marriage becoming law, via legislative reform and signature of the Governor.
Marriage Rights and Responsibilities - a sample list
- Duties of joint financial support and liability for family debts arising during the relationship.
- Access to step-parent and joint adoption.
- Legal presumption that both partners are parents of children born into the marriage, including access to custody, visitation and support orders concerning children upon breakup.
Non-biological parents may still wish to adopt the children, and draw wills and powers of attorney, since you
may travel to states that will not respect your marriage, or the presumption of parentage it creates).
- Dissolution of the marriage by a domestic relations court, including access to equitable division of the relationship assets and debts.
- Right to seek financial support upon breakup.
- Protection for married partners and their children under domestic violence, crime victim, and crisis assistance laws.
- Hospital visitation, medical decisionmaking, and authority to receive information about a partner’s medical condition or treatment.
Married same-sex couples may still wish to make wills, living wills, and health care powers of attorney,
since you may travel to states that will not automatically respect your marriage or the rights it grants.
- Automatic ability to authorize anatomical gifts, and release of medical records, and to make funeral arrangements for a deceased spouse.
- Right to seek money damages for a spouse’s wrongful death, lost financial support and companionship.
- Right to inherit in the absence of a will, and certain financial protections while the estate is being settled.
- Same financial protections spouses receive against duty to repay public medical and nursing home costs upon death of a partner.
- Employment-related spousal or family benefits, including spousal health insurance for public employees.
- Right to file joint state income tax returns, and state tax exemption regarding value of partner health insurance.
- Right to hold real property in “tenancy by the entirety,” which offers some protection against creditors.
- Some workplace benefits, including a pension for the surviving married spouse of a fireman or police officer, and, where work injury causes death, funeral and burial expenses, and death benefits.
- Equal treatment as spouses under certain state insurance laws.
- Right not to testify against married spouse.
- Right of an incarcerated person to phone a critically ill married spouse.
- Veterans benefits that are available under state law.
Regulations & Links to Official State Instructions
Illinois Marriage License Regulations
Links to Official State Marriage License Instructions
County Clerk Offices - as of November 2013
- Obtain a marriage license from a County Clerk’s office.
- Individuals who reside out-of-state may not apply for a marriage license if such a marriage would not be legal in their home state.
The clerk may ask you to sign an affidavit stating that your home state does not declare your same-sex marriage “void.”
If unclear about your home state law, and whether you can marry in Illinois, call Lambda Legal 312-663-4413 or ACLU-Illinois 312-201-9740
- Both parties must be at least 18.
- No examination or blood test required.
- Both parties must not be close blood relatives, down to and including first cousins.
- First cousins older than 50 years of age may marry.
- Applicants 16 and 17 years old may obtain a marriage license with parental consent.
- Both parents or legal guardians must appear in person, provide sworn consent of the marriage at that time, and provide valid identification.
- If a court-appointed legal guardian is providing consent, a certified copy of the appointment is required.
- Applicants who are 16 or 17 must present a certified copy of their birth certificate, plus a second form of identification showing their date of birth.
- Couples must appear together at a County Clerk’s office, and fill out and sign a marriage license application.
- Couples must present valid identification, with proof of age.
- $60-75 marriage license fee, depending on county.
- Applicants who have divorced must provide the date the divorce was finalized.
- Applicants who have divorced within the last 6 months must provide a certified copy of their divorce decree.
- Marriage licenses are effective the following calendar day after they are issued, and valid for 60 days.
- Licenses are effective only in the county that issued the license.
- $10.00 fee required when being married by a judge.
Adams County Vital Statistics
521 Vermont St, Quincy, IL 62306
Alexander County Clerk
2000 Washington Ave, Cairo, IL 62914
Bond County Clerk
203 W College Ave, Greenville, IL 62246
Boone County Clerk
601 North Main St, #202, Belvedere, IL 61008
Brown County Clerk
200 W Court St, #4, Mount Sterling, IL 62353
Bureau County Clerk
PO Box 336, 700 S. Main St, Princeton, IL 61356
Calhoun County Clerk
102 County Road, Hardin, IL 62047
Carroll County Clerk
PO Box 152, Mt. Carroll, IL 61053
Cass County Clerk
Courthouse, 100 E Springfield St, Virginia, IL 62691
Champaign County Clerk
1776 E Washington St, Urbana, IL 61801
Christian County Clerk
101 S Main St, Taylorville, IL 62568
Clark County Clerk
Courthouse, 501 Archer Ave, #4, Marshall, IL 62441
Clay County Clerk
Clay County Bldg Rm 106, Louisville, IL 62858
Clinton County Clerk
Courthouse, 891 Fairfax St, Carlyle, IL 62231
Coles County Recorder
7th and Monroe, Charleston, IL 61920
Cook County Clerk
118 N Clark St, #434, Chicago, IL 60602
Crawford County Clerk
1 Public Square, Robinson, IL 62454
Cumberland County Clerk
PO Box 146, Toledo, IL 62468
De Kalb County Clerk
110 East Sycamore St
Sycamore, IL 60178
De Witt County Clerk
201 W Washington St, Clinton, IL 61727
Douglas County Clerk
401 S Center St, Tuscola, IL 61953
Du Page County Recorder 421 North County Farm Road
PO Box 936m Wheaton, IL 60187
Edgar County Clerk
115 W Court St, #J, Paris, IL 61944
Edwards County Clerk
50 E Main St, Albion, IL 62806
Effingham County Clerk
101 N 4th St, #201, Effingham, IL 62401
Fayette County Clerk
221 S 7th St, Vandalia, IL 62471
Ford County Recorder
200 W State St Room 101, Paxton, IL 60957
Franklin County Recorder
202 W Main St, Benton, IL 62812
Fulton County Clerk
100 N Main St, Lewistown, IL 61542
Gallatin County Clerk
W Lincoln Blvd, Shawneetown, IL 62984
Greene County Clerk
519 N Main St, #6, Carrolton, IL 62016
Grundy County Clerk
111 E Washington St, Morris, IL 60450
Hamilton County Clerk
Courthouse, Mcleansboro, IL 62859
Hancock County Clerk
PO Box 39, Carthage, IL 62321
Hardin County Clerk
Main St, Elizabeth Town, IL 62931
Henderson County Clerk
Corner 4th and Warren St, Oquawka, IL 61469
Henry County Clerk
100 S Main St, Cambridge, IL 61238
Iroquois County Clerk
1001 E Grant St, Watseka, IL 60970
Jackson County Clerk
1001 Walnut St, #1, Murphysboro, IL 62966
Jasper County Clerk
100 W Jourdan St, Newton, IL 62448
Jefferson County Clerk
100 S 10th St, #105, Mount Vernon, IL 62864
Jersey County Clerk
201 West Pearl St, Jerseyville, IL 62052
Jo Daviess County Clerk
330 N Bench St, #3, Galena, IL 61036
Johnson County Clerk
400 Court Square, Vienna, IL 62995
Kane County Clerk
719 S. Batavia Ave, Geneva, IL 60134
Kankakee County Clerk
189 East Court St, Kankakee, IL 60901
Kendall County Clerk
111 West Fox Rd, Yorkville, IL 60560
Knox County Clerk
200 S Cherry St, Galesburg, IL 61401
La Salle County Clerk
707 Etna Road, Ottawa, IL 61350
Lake County Clerk
18 N County St, Rm 507, Waukegan, IL 60085
Lawrence County Clerk
1100 State St, Lawrenceville, IL 62439
Lee County Clerk
112 E 2nd St, Dixon, IL 61021
Livingston County Clerk
112 West Madison St, Pontiac, IL 61764
Logan County Clerk
601 Broadway St, #20, Lincoln, IL 62656
Macon County Clerk
141 S Main St, #104, Decatur, IL 62523
Macoupin County Clerk
157 N Main St, #109, Carlinville, IL 62026
Madison County Clerk
PO Box 308, Edwardsville, IL 62025
Marion County Clerk
100 E Main St, #201, Salem, IL 62881
Marshall County Clerk
122 North Prairie St, Lacon, IL 61540
Mason County Recorder
125 N Plum St, Havana, IL 62644
Massac County Clerk
1 Superman Sq., #2a, Metropolis, IL 62960
Mc Donough County Clerk
1 Court House, Macomb, IL 61455
Mc Henry County Clerk
Govt Cntr, 2200 N Seminary Ave, Woodstock, IL 60098
Mc Lean County Clerk
104 West Front, Rm 708, Bloomington, IL 61701
Menard County Recorder
PO Box 465, Petersburg, IL 62675
Mercer County Clerk
100 SE 3rd St, Aledo, IL 61231
Monroe County Recorder
100 S Main St, #226, Waterloo, IL 62298
Montgomery County Clerk
1 Courthouse Sq, Hilsboro, IL 62049
Morgan County Clerk
300 W State St, Jacksonville, IL 62651
Moultrie County Clerk
10 S Main St, Sullivan, IL 61951
Ogle County Recorder Ogle County Courthouse
4th And 5th St, Oregon, IL 61061
Peoria County Recorder Of Deed
300 Main St, Peoria, IL 61602
Perry County Clerk
PO Box 438, Pickneyville, IL 62274
Piatt County Recorder PO Box 558
101 W Washington, Monticello, IL 61856
Pike County Recorder
Pike County Court House, Pittsfield, IL 62363
Pope County Recorder
PO Box 216, Golconda, IL 62938
Pulaski County Recorder
PO Box 218, Mound City, IL 62963
Putnam County Recorder
PO Box 236, Hennepin, IL 61327
Randolph County Clerk
#1 Taylor St, Chester, IL 62233
Richland County Recorder
Richland County Courthouse, Olney, IL 62450
Rock Island County Recorder
210 15th St, Rock Island, IL 61201
Saline County Clerk
10 W Poplar St, Harrisburg, IL 62946
Sangamon County Clerk PO Box 669
200 S 9th St, #101a, Springfield, IL 62705
Schuyler County Clerk
102 S Congress St, Rushville, IL 62681
Scott County Clerk
101 E Market St, Winchester, IL 62694
Shelby County Clerk
301 E Main St, Shelbyville, IL 62565
St Clair County Clerk
PO Box 543, 10 Public Sq, Belleville, IL 62222
Stark County Clerk
130 W Main St, Toulon, IL 61483
Stephenson County Clerk
15 North Galena Ave, Freeport, IL 61032
Tazewell County Clerk
11 S 4th St, Pekin, IL 61554
Union County Clerk
311 W Market St, Jonesboro, IL 62952
Vermilion County Clerk
6 North Vermilion St, Danville, IL 61832
Wabash County Clerk
PO Box 277, 401 N Market St, Mount Carmel, IL 62863
Warren County Clerk
100 W Broadway, Monmouth, IL 61462
Washington County Clerk
Courthouse, Nashville, IL 62263
Wayne County Recorder
PO Box 187, Fairfield, IL 62837
White County Recorder
PO Box 339, Carmi, IL 62821
Whiteside County Recorder
200 E Knox St, Morrison, IL 61270
Will County Recorder
302 North Chicago, Joliet, IL 60431
Williamson County Recorder
PO Box 1108, Marion, IL 62959
Winnebago County Recorder
Recorder Of Deeds
400 West State St, Rockford, IL 61101
Woodford County Recorder
PO Box 38, Eureka, IL 61530
Governments that offer Full Legal Marriage
South Africa (2005)
New Zealand (2013)
New Zealand (2013)
(England, Wales, Scotland) (2013)
US States & Territories
New Hampshire (2009)
District of Columbia (2009)
New York (2011)
Rhode Island (2013)
New Jersey (2013)
New Mexico (2013)
Michigan (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
Arkansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
West Virginia (2014)
Kansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
North Carolina (2014)
South Carolina (2014)
U.S. Supreme Court (June 26, 2015):
Ruling: All U.S. States must now
allow same-sex couples the
freedom of legal marriage.
Native American Tribes|
Coquille Tribe, Oregon (2009)
Mashantucket Pequot, Connecticut (2011)
Suquamish Tribe, Washington (2011)
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington (2013)
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota (2013)
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Michigan (2013)
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan (2013)
Santa Ysabel Tribe, California (2013)
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation, Washington (2013)
Cheyenne, Oklahoma (2013)
Arapaho, Oklahoma (2013)
Leech Lake Tribal Court, Minnesota (2013)
Puyallup Tribe, Washington (2914)
Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming (2014)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan, (2014)
Colville Confederated Tribes, Washington (2014)
Central Council of Tlingit, Alaska (2015)
Haida Indian Tribes, Alaska (2015)