Everything you want to know about the first day Cook County begins to issue civil union licenses

WHAT: Illinois will begin offering Civil Union licenses at county clerk offices on Wednesday, June 1. The Cook County Clerk’s office will open its downtown office early to mark the momentous occasion. “I’m thrilled this day has finally come,” Clerk David Orr said. “This will be a joyous day for all couples – gay and straight – who want to make history as part of the inaugural group of civil unions.” WHEN: Wednesday, June 1. The Clerk’s downtown Chicago Vital Records office will open at 7:30 a.m. WHERE: Before 6 a.m., couples should line up outside the Daley Center’s northeast door, located near Randolph and Dearborn Streets. The Daley Center, 50 W. Washington St., will open at 6 a.m. Couples should take the escalators down to the lower level (Pedway) and line up outside the Vital Records office, Room CL-27. WHO: Debra Shore, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner, and key staff for the Cook County Clerk’s office, will make brief opening remarks. Clerk Orr is on assignment in Macedonia as an election monitor with PAE-REACT, on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. INFO FOR COUPLES: Civil Union licenses will be available to same-sex and heterosexual couples. The Clerk’s office encourages all couples who wish to get a license on June 1 to visit the downtown office (not a suburban office). All couples need to meet the following criteria: Be at least 18 years old; Not be related to one another; Have valid, current identification, such as driver’s license, state ID or U.S. passport; Pay a $35 license application fee. Cash preferred. MasterCard, American Express & Discover accepted. Personal checks and Visa will not be accepted. Couples who are currently registered as Domestic Partners in Cook County will receive a $20 discount and their domestic partnership will be automatically dissolved. Any couple planning to participate in a June 2 ceremony – including the Millennium Park event hosted by the City of Chicago, Lamda Legal, Equality Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Judges – MUST obtain a license from the Clerk’s office on June 1. A license is valid for a ceremony held within 60 days of the issue date. By law, couples must wait until the day after they obtain their license to have their Civil Union ceremony performed so June 2 is the first day Civil Union ceremonies can be held. Within 10 days of a ceremony, Civil Union officiants must return the completed license for it to be certified and recorded by the County Clerk. Ceremonies must be held in the county where the license was issued. CELEBRATION: Civil Union “presents” have been donated by 20 local businesses. The first couple in line at 7:30 a.m. will receive a gift package. Other presents will be distributed by raffle; couples in line by 7:30 a.m. will be eligible. The Clerk’s office will invite all couples back to a party room for cake and chocolate, donated by Eli’s Cheesecake and Illinois Nut & Candy. SPONSORS & RAFFLE PRIZES: Gifts for the First Couple 2-night stay at The Palmer House Hilton $100 Wilde Bar & Restaurant gift certificate Starbelly Studios Photography photo shoot with 3 complimentary prints $50 LaSalle Flowers gift certificate Eli's Cheesecake on your anniversary for life Grand Prize in Raffle Provided by Chicago's First Lady Cruises, a 2-hour cruise for you and 50 friends. Includes complimentary wine and beer, plus a gift basket with champagne, chocolate & more. Valued at $2,500 Raffle Prizes Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 2 free passes (2) Goodman Theatre, 2 tickets to “Chinglish” Starbelly Studios Photography, photo shoot with 3 complimentary prints (10) Transistor - art, electronics, music & books, $25 gift certificate Illinois Nut & Candy, cake toppers (2) Eli's Cheesecake, cheesecakes (10) LaSalle Flowers, floral arrangement Angel’s Restaurant, lunch for two gift certificate (10) Best Gay Chicago, gift basket with Prosecco, wine glasses, “Grillin & Chillin cookbook,” candles, chocolate, $25 Angelina’s gift certificate, $20 Mini Bar gift certificate Restoration Salon, hair services for a couple valued at $120-$170 (4) Wilde Bar & Restaurant, $50 gift certificate (8) Robert V. Sierzega & Associates, Ltd. Architecture & Design, 2 hours of consultation, valued at $300 Lady Gregory's, $50 gift certificate (10) Crew Bar + Grill, $25 gift certificate (5) ADH Meetings & Events, gift certificate (10) Downtown Bar & Lounge, $25 gift certificate (2)


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