Chicago, IL -
Cook County Clerk David Orr will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately - more than three full months before the June 1 date set by the Illinois legislature - following a federal court order today. The Clerk's downtown office will remain open until 7 p.m. tonight.
"I'm thrilled same-sex couples who want to get married won't have to wait any longer" Orr said. "We are very excited to celebrate this historic milestone with every loving couple from today onward."
Clerk Orr will keep the downtown Bureau of Vital Records, in the lower level of the Daley Center, open an extra two hours tonight – until 7 p.m. – to accommodate any couples who want to get a license after work. Only the downtown office will issue same-sex marriage licenses on Friday. All offices will begin issuing licenses on Monday.
Marriage licenses are valid from the day after issuance and for 60 days. In other words, couples who obtain a marriage license on March 1 may get married between March 2 and April 30.
"Don't rush to get your license if you have a summer wedding planned because you don't want the license to expire before your big day," Orr said.
The $60 license fee will be waived for any couple who already has an Illinois civil union license. Couples who wish to convert their prior civil union date to a marriage will have to wait until June 1 because it was not addressed in Judge Coleman's order.
More frequently asked questions about marriage equality can be found at cookcountyclerk.com.
Orr congratulates Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois for convincing the court to enforce an earlier implementation date than the default June 1 date set by the legislature last year.
"Justice has prevailed and full equality is no longer delayed for Illinoisans who wish to marry in Cook County before June 1st," said Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal.
"We're thrilled that Judge Coleman recognized the serious harm to the many Illinois families from continuing to deny them the freedom to marry," said John Knight, LGBT and AIDS Project Director for the ACLU of Illinois. "The U.S. Constitution guarantees these families the personal and emotional benefits as well as the critical legal protections of marriage."