ILLINOIS: Civil Unions Begin
Today Illinois becomes the sixth state with legalized civil unions.
Long lines are expected to form early Wednesday at the Cook County Clerk's downtown office of vital records as couples from across Chicago gather to be part of a historic moment — the issuing of the state's first civil union licenses. The doors will open at 7:30 a.m. and the clerk's office will celebrate what it calls "the momentous occasion" by awarding a special gift package to the first couple to get a license. Adding to the festive atmosphere, about 20 local businesses will be supplying gifts that will be raffled off to other couples in line. As with marriage licenses, couples will have to pay a $35 fee and wait one day before they can hold a civil union ceremony. Couples who are already registered as domestic partners in Cook County but want to enter into a civil union will get a $20 discount and their domestic partnership will be automatically dissolved.Civil unions laws in Hawaii and Delaware have not yet gone into effect.