To Do or Not To Do....or How to Convert Your Civil Union into Marriage?

On June 26, 2015, in a  historic and, for many people,  life changing ruling, the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) recognized a constitutional right for a State to "license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state". In short, same sex marriage is now the law of the land. 

The SCOTUS decision is based on the principle that same sex couples "seek it (marriage) because of their respect and need for its' privileges and responsibilities". SCOTUS affirmed that the right of same sex couples to marry is a "fundamental" right under the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution. (Obergefell V Hodges).

Illinois has had legal options for same sex couples since 2011 when Civil Unions were recognized. In 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed the Marriage Equality Act, permitting same sex couples to wed.

What do you do if you are in a Civil Union, but have now decided to get married?  It's not as complicated as you might think.  As part of the Marriage Equality Law, provisions were made to convert a civil union into a marriage,  For a one year period, couples could convert their civil union into a marriage and it would retroactive to the date of the civil union. That time frame had expired.  

If you have decided that now is the time to convert, both parties will need to apply, in person for a marriage license.  The marriage must be performed within 60 days of the license being issued. You will need  government issued identification.  It is recommended that you bring along a copy of your Civil Union license as well.  According to the Lake County Clerk's Office, it is easier for the State to put your civil union and marriage together if both were performed in the same county. In most counties, the license fee will be waived.