On Wednesday, President Barack Obama voiced his support for same-sex marriage, which raises the question: what is happening in Illinois?
Illinois doesn’t permit same-sex marriages, but since June 1, 2011, civil unions have been permitted in Illinois, which applies to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
Since June, the Cook County Clerk’s office has issued 2,427 licenses for same-sex civil unions. Of those couples, 1,210 have been female and 1,015 have been male, said Gail Siegel, communications director for the Cook County Clerk’s office.
Although not all religious institutions are opening their doors for them, one way to honor a civil union is through a religious ceremony, and many couples in Cook County have taken advantage of that option.
Since June, 590 of the couples had religious ceremonies, and 1,632 had civil ceremonies.
Just like marriages though, a religious union is only one piece of the final product.
Siegel said that after obtaining a license from the county clerk, a religious leader such as a priest, minister, or rabbi, can perform a ceremony, and sign the license. The license is then sent back to the clerk to make it official.
“The only way to get a legal marriage or civil union is to obtain a license from the county clerk in the county where you plan to have your ceremony,” Siegel said.