Cook County Creates Same-Sex Registry

Tue. July 1, 2003 12:00 AM by Kevin Wayne

Landmark Measure Passed Overwhelmingly

Chicago, IL - Just two days after Chicago celebrated Pride, The Cook County Board of Commissioners has handed Chicago’s GLBT community another stunning victory. In a 13-to-3 vote Tuesday, the full county board overwhelmingly passed a landmark resolution that would create a county registry for same-sex couples.

The measure, proposed by Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley (D-Chicago) on June 17, 2003, will allow gay and lesbian couples to formally register their unions with the county government and receive a certificate of partnership. Quigley said the registry will allow same-sex couples to gain recognition and respect.

Eleven of the 17 county board members co-sponsored Quigley’s proposal, including County Board President John Stroger. Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine also endorsed the plan.

Gay rights advocates say county recognition of same-sex unions would allow many people to obtain employment benefits for their partners and protection in legal matters.

Most of the opposition came from County Commissioner Anthony Peraica (R-Lyons) who represents the western suburbs. Peraica says a majority of his suburban constituents were against such a registry.

According to the latest census, about 13-thousand residents of Cook County identified themselves as same-sex domestic partners.

Couples will pay 30 dollars, the same cost as a marriage license, to register and receive a certificate. The same-sex registry should be available by fall 2003.

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