Archive for the ‘Marriage & Civil Unions’ Category


10,000 Same-Sex Marriages in Cook County

August 29, 2016

Celebrating 10,000 same-sex marriages in Cook CountyThe marriage license for the 10,000th same-sex wedding in Cook County should be issued today or tomorrow.

At a celebration hosted by Cook County Clerk David Orr, Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson, who with his husband Toby were the 9,191st same-sex couple to be wed here, said that they were part of the last wave of couples for whom marriage was not a legal option when they first met.

“I look forward to the day in the not so distant future,” Brian said, “when we lose track of the number of same-sex couples who marry and that Illinois simply rejoices in how many families we call our own.”


Equality Illinois Marriage Planning Guide

September 30, 2015

Wedding Guide 2015 coverNow available: The Equality Illinois Marriage Planning Guide, 2015-2016 Edition

Find that special venue, the right caterer, photographer, baker and florist, and the officiant who will make your wedding memorable.

Also, learn about the Illinois marriage law and the Supreme Court ruling making marriage equality‬ the law of the land. Click below to read and download.

Marriage Guide


10,400 Couples Wed in Illinois Await Court Decision

June 17, 2015

SCOTUS -Marriage decision impact 10000 couples for webMore than 10,400 same-sex couples have married in Illinois since marriage equality arrived in the state, according to a new Equality Illinois analysis of state records.

For these families, the widely anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decision on marriage equality is as important as in states where there is no freedom to marry.

They may enjoy full marriage rights in Illinois, but if work, travel or retirement takes them outside the state, their married status and the protections that it provides can be put into jeopardy, denying them the right to #LIVEequal.



Marriage Cases Important to Illinois Couples

April 28, 2015

SCOTUS marriage hearingAs the U.S. Supreme Court convenes Tuesday to hear the cases on marriage equality, Illinois couples and families who are already protected under our state’s freedom to marry are as interested and concerned as people living in the state’s where that freedom is not yet recognized.

Whether states must recognize the same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions is one of the two issues before the court. That question is of particular importance to couples who can marry in Illinois.

Whether the states are required by the Constitution, particularly the 14th Amendment, to license a marriage between two people of the same sex is the second question before the court.

Only a national recognition of the equal treatment required by our Constitution can bring the freedom to marry throughout the U.S. and end that inequity.



Supreme Court To Consider Marriage Equality

January 16, 2015

SCOTUSMarriage equality could become a national reality later this year after the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday ordered a hearing on the issue.

The court announced it is taking cases from four states where the wishes of same-sex couples to marry are thwarted by state laws. In its order, the court asked two questions:
1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

The 14th Amendment grants citizens “the equal protection of the laws.” No date for oral arguments was set, but a decision is widely expected by late June.


Celebrating One Year Ago

November 5, 2014

Marriage Victory AnniversaryOne year ago today –
The Illinois General Assembly passed marriage equality.

Since then, the federal appeals court that covers Illinois has ruled in favor of the freedom to marry, a decision that the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed to stand.

Equality Illinois stands ready to ensure that there are no efforts to weaken the Illinois public accommodation law or any other policy, ensuring equal access and fair treatment for all Illinois families.


Supreme Court Expands Marriage Equality

October 6, 2014

SOCTUS 7th CircuitVICTORY! Congratulations to our neighboring Midwestern states of Indiana and Wisconsin from your friends in Illinois, another MARRIAGE EQUALITY STATE.

Same-sex marriages should begin shortly in Indiana and Wisconsin, as well as in Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia, after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear appeals of cases that overturned bans on the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

Other states under the jurisdiction of appeals courts that have struck down the bans will also be affected by the Supreme Court’s decision, meaning the number of states with gay marriage is likely to quickly jump from 19 to 30, plus Washington, DC. Those states include Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.


Waiting to Hear from the Supremes

September 29, 2014

Supreme CourtMarriage equality cases are some of the first items being considered by the Supreme Court on Monday as justices return from their summer break. Before the court are seven petitions asking the court to take up marriage equality cases involving five states. Included is the 3-0 majority opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago that overturned marriage equality bans in Indiana and Wisconsin.

The Equality Federation, a national affiliation of state equality organizations co-founded by Equality Illinois, has signed on to a brief urging the Supreme Court to take up the cases and to create the freedom to marry throughout the country. If the court orders a full hearing this term, it would set the stage for a possible nationwide ruling on the issue by June.

“We at the Federation believe it is time for the Supreme Court to grant the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in all states,” the organization said in a statement. “Every day of [marriage] denial cases real harm.”



EQIL Calls on Rauner: Follow Marriage Equality Ruling

September 5, 2014

Rauner Certificate_postThe unanimous U.S. Court of Appeals ruling Thursday in Chicago for the freedom to marry was a clarion call for Midwestern political leaders including Bruce Rauner of Illinois to end their stubborn opposition to marriage equality.

In a news release, Equality Illinois demanded that Bruce Rauner, the Republican nominee for governor, apologize for his pledge to repeal marriage rights and declare that he supports full marriage equality for same-sex couples.

“Bruce Rauner cannot hide behind his ‘no social agenda’ rhetoric when he has said clearly on the record that he would have vetoed the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act had he been governor,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois.



U.S. Appeals Court Orders Marriage Equality in the Midwest

September 4, 2014

7th opinion memeScore another victory for marriage equality in the Midwest.

The U.S. Appeals Court in Chicago released a unanimous 3-0 ruling against the marriage equality bans in our neighboring states of Indiana and Wisconsin.

What is remarkable is that the three-judge panel took barely a week after the oral arguments to decide the case and write its ruling and that in writing the 7th Circuit decision, Judge Richard Posner, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, was so blunt in his opinion.

“Our pair of cases is rich in detail but ultimately straightforward to decide. The challenged laws discriminate against a minority defined by an immutable characteristic, and the only rationale that the states put forth with any conviction — that same-sex couples and their children don’t need marriage because same-sex couples can’t produce children, intended or unintended — is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously,” Posner wrote for the court.



Weather Cleared for the Rally for Marriage

August 25, 2014

Rally MontageThe weather cleared for the Rally for Marriage Equality Monday evening, allowing couples from Indiana and Wisconsin to join supporters from Illinois in advance of an important hearing Tuesday on the freedom to marry in the Midwest.

A panel of judges on the U.S. Appeals Court for the 7th Circuit in Chicago will hear oral arguments Tuesday on cases that overturned the bans on same-sex marriage in Indiana and Wisconsin.

Monday night’s rally in the Chicago Federal Plaza welcomed the Indiana and Wisconsin delegations, led by Illinois State Rep. Greg Harris, the author of the Illinois marriage equality law.



Rally for Marriage Equality in the Midwest

August 17, 2014

Rally Chi Meme jpgSame-sex couples in Illinois now enjoy the protections only marriage can provide. And that historic victory would never have happened without Illinoisans who took action and made their voices heard for equality for all. But the fight isn’t over yet; far from it actually. Because while we secured the freedom to marry in Illinois, we know we won’t truly be free until we secure the freedom to marry nationwide.

At the end of this month, Indiana’s and Wisconsin’s marriage cases will head to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. So on Monday, August 25th, the eve of the Aug. 26 oral arguments, our friends will be rallying in Chicago to show the nation that the Midwest is ready for the freedom to marry.

Join the Rally for Marriage Equality in the Midwest in the Chicago Federal Plaza on Aug. 25.



5,000 Couples Enjoying Marriage Equality in Illinois

July 9, 2014

Marriage Report July 2014Breaking News from an Equality Illinois Report: More Than 5,000 Couples Enjoying Marriage Equality in Illinois

Couples united in new marriages, by civil union conversions and by marriages in other jurisdictions recognized in Illinois are enjoying the benefits of Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.

“Some politicians cannot state that they will defend marriage equality and the rights of the couples and their children. It is important to note that such opposition translates into saying they cannot be counted on to stand up to defend these 5,000 families from discrimination,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois.



Banner Recalls Rauner’s Threat to Veto Marriage Equality

June 28, 2014
Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov addresses the media at the unveiling of the Rauner poster

Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov addresses the media at the unveiling of the Rauner poster

Same-sex married couples and their children on Thursday joined with political leaders and LGBT advocates such as Equality Illinois founder Art Johnston and Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov to unveil this huge banner of Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner and remind voters of his threat to veto the marriage equality bill if given the opportunity.

The banner is hanging at the intersection of Halsted and Roscoe streets on the route of Sunday’s Chicago Pride Parade to remind participants that Rauner is willing to take away the hard fought and recently won rights for same-sex married couples and their children.


Illinois Witnessing Historic Marriages

June 2, 2014
Jim Darby and Patrick Bova prepare to tie the knot after a 51-year courtship. They are greeted by Gov. Pat Quinn (center), Equality Illinois' Bernard Cherkasov (right) and Lambda Legal's Jim Bennett (left).

Jim Darby and Patrick Bova prepare to tie the knot after a 51-year courtship. They are greeted by Gov. Pat Quinn (center), Equality Illinois’ Bernard Cherkasov (right) and Lambda Legal’s Jim Bennett (left).

Six months after the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act became law, it finally went into effect statewide yesterday, and today, marriage licenses are being issued throughout the state and couples who were joined in civil unions could start converting their status to marriages if they desire.

To celebrate, Equality Illinois worked with the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago to hold a series of marriage ceremonies throughout the day. All the couples were magnificent. One of the emotional highlights was the ceremony of Jim Darby and Patrick Bova, a couple together for 51 years who have been at the forefront of the fight for marriage equality.

Gov. Pat Quinn stopped by to honor their marriage and serve as a witness.



Countdown to Marriage Throughout Illinois

May 19, 2014

The countdown to marriage is underway, getting closer to June 1, 2014, when the freedom to marry finally arrives in all 102 counties of Illinois.

This joyous moment means that all loving couples who want the recognition, the respect and the rights that come with marriage for them and their children will be able to exercise their freedom in all corners of the state. The date also signifies the full implementation of the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which means that the more than 6,000 couples in civil unions in the state will be able to sign a certificate to make their unions into marriages.

Still, there are questions about the application of the law and how to take full advantage of it. Equality Illinois tries to answer them with our Countdown to Marriage Page.



Clergy Ready to Perform Same-Sex Marriages

April 25, 2014

marriage slideHundreds of clergy members in Illinois want to officiate at same-sex wedding ceremonies, newly possible under the freedom to marry law, and Equality Illinois helps couples connect with the faith leaders in a new pamphlet.

The just-issued listing of wedding officiants answers one of the most frequent questions about the new marriage equality: Who will perform our wedding?

Also, the updated Equality Illinois guide Marriage Rights in Illinois answers most of the other questions couples have about taking advantage of the state’s new marriage law, including how to convert a civil union into a marriage. Both guides can be read online or downloaded.



Central Illinois Welcomes Marriage Equality

February 26, 2014

Champaign4webChampaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten (pictured left) today became the second county clerk in Illinois to issue marriage licenses to all loving, committed couples. Equality Illinois is challenging other clerks throughout the state to do the same.

Clerk Hulten said his Central Illinois constituents should enjoy the constitutional right of the freedom to marry that was enunciated on Friday by a federal judge in Chicago when she ordered same-sex marriages to begin in Cook County.

It is also significant that the licenses are now available in a Central Illinois county, which is within easy driving distance of not only Champaign-Urbana but also Peoria, Decatur, Springfield, Bloomington-Normal and Danville for couples and their families.



February 21, 2014

Cook County Marriage Ruling 2

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman has just ordered Cook County to begin issuing marriage licenses immediately to same-sex couples.

At the same time, there are renewed attempts in Illinois to weaken or repeal our hard-won freedom to marry.

Tens of thousands of Illinois couples have been waiting for a long time, some for decades, for their love, commitment and marriage to be recognized. This day – and the opportunity to finally get married – could not have come sooner. We congratulate all of the couples and their families, and the people of Illinois on this significant day.



Marriage Equality Forums

February 18, 2014

MarriageForumsFeb20144WebAttend an Equality Illinois Marriage Forum this month at the Chicago Urban League and Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago.

The forums are aimed at educating the public about SB10, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, and dispelling myths and empowering same-sex couples and their families to understand and use all their state and federal marriage rights.

Learn more and register at:
>Thurs., Feb. 20, 6 pm, Chicago Urban League, 4510 S. Michigan Ave. CLICK HERE.
>Tues., Feb. 25, 7 pm, Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St. CLICK HERE.


Advancing the Federal LGBT Agenda

January 13, 2014
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi meets with the EQIL delegation, including CEO Bernard Cherkasov

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi meets with the EQIL delegation, including CEO Bernard Cherkasov

An Equality Illinois delegation spent Thursday, January 9 in Washington, DC meeting with leaders to discuss a wide range of issues and emphasizing that despite great gains in 2013, the agenda remains full and there should be no complacency.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley and the Obama administration officials in attendance were very receptive and welcomed the input.