The History of Same-Sex Marriage in the State of Illinois

When considering civil unions and same-sex marriage in Illinois, the history may be shorter than you think. Regardless, it is also an excellent time to reflect on the ability of same-sex couples to move from civil unions to marriage in the state. It also means considering what this change means for equal justice in Chicago and nearby areas.

It was not until 2014 that Illinois legalized same-sex marriage. Residents of Chicago and beyond who were married in other states, where same-sex marriage was allowed, were not able to come back home to Illinois and see that same validation of their marriage. Same-sex couples were able to enter into a civil union, but marriage was not an option. Civil unions as a legally recognized relationship had been around since June 1st of 2011.

One thing to note is that same-sex couples have long struggled to acquire the rights that heterosexual couples have had access to. Before 2011, there was no option for a same-sex couple to be in a legally recognized relationship that offered the privileges and rights that were provided to heterosexual couples in legal marriage. A Northbrook family law attorney was not able to help same-sex couples become legally united.

When we talk about the past of same-sex couples, we have to look at changes throughout the entire country. In 2013, momentum was seen in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. On June 26th, 2013, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. DOMA was an act that allowed certain states the ability to refuse same-sex marriages that were granted legally in other states. This did not lead to same-sex marriage legality, but it started a change and brought about Illinois civil unions.

When this ruling came out, many Chicago individuals had hope and excitement that Illinois might choose to allow same-sex marriage. However, other residents were in disagreement. Cardinal Francis George went on record opposing same-sex marriage and speaking about the potential negative results of it.

In 2015, on June 26th, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a case that legalized marriage for all 50 states. Illinois had already been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples for about a year before this. Many of these marriage licenses went to same-sex couples who were formerly in civil unions and wanted a legally recognized marriage.

We have come a long way in a short time, and it is important to understand that. If you are interested in filing for marriage or have questions about civil unions, a Northbrook family law attorney can help. You can contact M. Scott Gordon & Associates to find out more.

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