Domestic Partnership Registry Begins Today

Wed. October 1, 2003 12:00 AM

Same-sex couples may register with Cook County

Chicago, IL - Cook County begins recognizing same-sex relationships today (October 1st) as the county's domestic partnership registry takes effect, announced Cook County Clerk David Orr and Commissioner Mike Quigley.

Same-sex couples can sign up beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Cook County Clerk's Vital Records Division, located at the lower level concourse at the Randolph Street entrance of the County Building between Clark and LaSalle streets.

To apply for the Domestic Partnership Registry, both partners must complete the following steps:
- Appear together at the Clerk's downtown office and present valid photo identification with proof of age (e.g. driver's license, state identification, passport, etc.)
- Fill out and sign a legal affidavit.
- Pay $30 per couple (cash or money order only).

The legal affidavit, which serves as the application form, states that:
- You and your partner must be at least 18 years old.
- You and your partner must share a common household.
- You and your partner must live in Cook County, or either you or your partner must work in Cook County.
- You and your partner must be competent to enter into a contract.
- You and your partner must maintain a close and committed relationship of mutual financial and emotional support and intend to remain in such a relationship.
- Neither you nor your partner is legally married.
- You and your partner are not related by blood.
- If you have been registered in a domestic partnership, you may not enter into another until at least 30 days after legally terminating the previous partnership.
- You and/or your partner must officially terminate the partnership if the above statements no longer apply.
- You and your partner must fill out and sign a Domestic Partnership Affidavit affirming the above statements are true and correct.

Upon filing the Domestic Partnership Affidavit and paying the required fee, the Clerk's office will issue a Domestic Partnership Certificate to the couple. Each couple will also receive two wallet-sized Domestic Partnership Certificate Cards, stating that their partnership is registered with Cook County.

A reception sponsored by local community groups and organizations to celebrate the establishment of the registry and to honor the newly registered couples will be held today from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the banquet room of Petterino's restaurant, 150 N. Dearborn St., located at the corner of Dearborn and Randolph streets. For information about the reception, call Equality Illinois at (773) 477-7173.

Cook County Commissioners approved the county's domestic partnership registry ordinance July 1. Cook County joins 49 cities and eight counties that have established domestic partnership registries, including Oak Park in 1997, the only other government jurisdiction in Illinois to do so.

Cook County has offered health insurance benefits to the domestic partners of county employees since 1999.

For more information about the county's registry, call (312) 603-5584