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831 Civil Union Licenses Issued In Cook County Last Month

Civil Unions

Ira Dym and Ryan Endress wear commitment rings, and plan to get a civil union license once Gov. Pat Quinn signs a pending bill into law. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Officials say 831 civil union licenses were awarded to Cook County couples in June, the first month they were legal in Illinois.

Cook County Clerk David Orr said in a news release that since the state law permitting civil unions went into effect on June 1, 428 lesbian couples, 357 gay male couples, and 46 opposite sex couples had applied for civil union licenses.

The youngest person to file for a license was 18, the oldest 93, Orr’s office said.

In total, 65 percent of the couples live in Chicago, but couples from 68 Cook County suburbs also filed for licenses – among them 35 couples from Evanston, 24 from Oak Park, eight from Berwyn, seven from Homewood, six from Arlington Heights and four from Matteson, Orr’s office said.

The couples were also more highly educated than average with more than half having at least one collage graduate, and many more having a partner with an advanced degree or doctorate. The couples were also racially diverse, with at least one Hispanic partner in 13 percent of women couples and 15 percent of men couples, and at least one African-American partner in 22 percent of women couples and 10 percent of men couples.

“It’s thrilling to see so many happy couples getting licenses and celebrating their relationships,” Orr said in the release. “My office is dedicated to making this milestone special for each and every couple.”

The busiest day for civil unions was June 1, when 209 licenses were issued. For the rest of the month, an average of 30 licenses were issued per day in Cook County, according to Orr’s office.

From July 1 through 15, 125 couples obtained civil union licenses in Cook County, according to Orr’s office.

Earlier this month, the gay rights group Equality Illinois said 1,618 civil union licenses had been issued throughout the state in the month since the law went into effect on June 1.

Illinois’ civil union law was signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn in late January in a ceremony attended by about 1,000 people at the Chicago Cultural Center.

The day after the law went into effect, both Gov. Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended a gathering of 30 couples who exchanged vows in Millennium Park the day after civil unions officially became legal.

The law gives gay and lesbian couples official recognition from the state and many of the same rights that accompany opposite-sex marriage, including the right to inherit.