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Illinois starts issuing civil unions today for same-sex and opposite-sex couples

Bryan Alaspa's picture

The long-sought-after legalization of same-sex unions has now come to the state of Illinois as today marks the day that civil unions are legalized throughout the state.

Already at various county clerk offices, long lines are expected. For days now, the county clerks in and around the city of Chicago have been inundated with phone calls from those interested in getting the civil union licenses that are needed to have a legal ceremony. The civil unions now give many of the same legal benefits to same-sex unions as marriage currently does.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the doors to the city clerk’s office in Cook County opens at 7:30 a.m. They clerk’s office is calling the event of the first licenses for civil unions as “momentous occasion.” They will be awarding a special gift package to the first couple in line to get a license. Also, about 20 local businesses will be on hand to offer special gifts and raffles to the other couples in line.

To get the license, the same-sex unions will have to pay a $35 fee, the same as a marriage license. They also have to wait one day after receiving the license before they have an official ceremony. For couples who have already registered as domestic partners in Cook County, where Chicago is, get a $20 discount and their domestic partnership will be officially and automatically dissolved.

Suburban civil union couples should probably not expect nearly as much as that which is planned in the city. However, the lines in counties around Chicago, such as DuPage, will probably still be long.

So far, according to representatives from the various county clerk offices, there have been no angry phone calls from those who oppose same-sex unions. However, many of the offices are expecting to put out extra security for the day.

Couples who apply for the licenses need to be at least 18 years of age. They must not be related to each other and must have the right identification. That includes a state-issued driver’s license or a passport. Those who live outside of Illinois, in a state that does not allow civil unions, cannot legally get a civil union done here in Illinois.

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