PRINCETON — Bureau County has issued two same-sex marriage licenses since same-sex marriages became legal a week ago.
In November 2013, Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act into law, making Illinois the 16th state in the union to allow same-sex marriage. The law went into effect June 1. Prior to that, since June 2011, same-sex couples could get civil union licenses.
Bureau County Clerk Kami Hieronymus said one of the two same-sex couples applying last week in her office for a marriage license did have a civil union license and wanted to convert the civil union to a marriage license.
When applying for a marriage license, a same-sex couple does not have to turn in the civil union license, Hieronymus said. There is a new application for a marriage license which has to be filled out and signed. The couple has a choice as to whether they want to keep their civil union date as their marriage date.
There is no cost when a couple wants to convert from civil union to marriage. As per the new law, the couple has a year to convert if they choose.
Since June 2011, the Bureau County Clerk’s office has processed four civil union applications/licenses; one in 2012; four in 2013 and one in 2014.
Hieronymus said the marriage license application form and process is the same for both heterosexual and same-sex couples. The cost is $35 for a marriage license. The waiting period is one day. The license is valid for 60 days.
Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.