Marriage Basics

What rights will I have if I marry my same-sex partner?
All laws of the state of Illinois that are applicable to marriage apply equally to marriages of same-sex couples and different-sex couples and their children. Therefore, all married couples (same-sex or different-sex) have the same benefits, protections, and responsibilities under the law. Marriage provides over 600 state-level rights, benefits, and protections to same-sex lawfully wedded couples, including rights relating to probate, health care decisions, medical and life insurance, and many other areas. The federal government also recognizes marriages of gay and lesbian couples, making available over 1,100 protections and rights.

When will Illinois recognize the freedom to marry for same-sex couples?
The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act and all of its provisions took effect on June 1, 2014.

If we were married in another state or country, do we need to get married again in Illinois?
No. If you were married in another state or country (as long as it was not a common law marriage) with marriage equality, it will be recognized as a marriage in Illinois. You may be required to provide proof of your out-of-state marriage such as a copy of your marriage license from another state, but you do not need to obtain a new Illinois marriage license from the county clerk’s office.

Will civil unions still be an option if I do not want to be married?|
Yes. Civil unions will remain an option for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

If I entered into a domestic partnership, civil union, or substantially similar relationship lawfully in another state, will Illinois recognize my relationship?
Illinois will recognize your relationship as a civil union.

If my partner and I were registered as domestic partners in Cook County, do we need to get married?
If you want the legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits extended to spouses under Illinois law, you may wish to get married. The same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits afforded to married couples are not extended to domestic partners registered in Cook County. You can legally enter into a marriage regardless of whether you are registered as domestic partners in Cook County.