More than 80 same-sex couples, including a few couples from other neighboring Illinois counties, have gotten marriage licenses in Cook County. David Orr’s office began issuing licenses on Friday, February 21, 2014 after a federal judge ruled that Illinois’ original ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and same sex couples could immediately begin marrying. This ruling only applies to Cook County. Accordingly, same-sex marriage couples residing in Cook County or couples seeking to marry in Cook County, no longer have to wait until Governor Pat Quin signs The Religious Freedom of Marriage Act on June 1, 2014.
Additionally, Cook County is also converting existing civil unions between same-sex couples into same-sex marriages. Previously, couples seeking to convert civil unions could only do so on or after June 1, 2014. It is important to note, that same sex couples seeking to convert their civil union into a marriage still have one year from the passage of The Religious Freedom of Marriage Act to do so. The early issuance of marriage licenses in Cook County does not affect the June 1, 2015 deadline previously provided by The Religious Freedom of Marriage Act.
In addition to the above, same-sex couples in receipt of a Cook County marriage license can now enjoy all the benefits offered to opposite-sex couples with respect to adoption rights, tax benefits, and other legal benefits effective immediately.