Evanston issues most same-sex marriage licenses of any Cook County suburb

Stephanie Kelly, City Editor

Evanston has issued more marriage licenses to same-sex couples than any other suburb in Cook County, according to a report released Wednesday by the county’s clerk.

Evanston issued 142 marriage licenses in Cook County’s first year after legalizing same-sex marriage, according to the report. 

More than three months before Illinois legalized gay marriage, Cook County Clerk David Orr was authorized to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples who planned to marry in Cook County on Feb. 21, 2014. Since then, more than 6,500 same-sex couples have married in the county.

“As we mark the one-year anniversary of marriage equality in Cook County, we celebrate more than the historic day I began issuing licenses to same-sex couples,” Orr said in the report. “We also celebrate every day that loving couples have been able to share in this most basic right, a right that was denied to so many for too long.”

Chicago residents made up about 66 percent of the same-sex couples who were issued licenses. Marriage licenses were issued to 1,191 suburban Cook County residents or about 18.5 percent of the total licenses issued. Evanston issued the most of Cook County suburbs, followed by Oak Park, Berwyn, Des Plaines and Schaumburg.

More than 350 same-sex couples from other counties were issued Cook County licenses, and more than 1,800 couples came from 41 other states, including Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. Fourteen couples from countries including China, Russia, Spain and England traveled to get married in Cook County.

“While marriage equality has spread like a tidal wave across the country, it needs to be recognized in every state,” Orr said in the report. “Couples from 41 other states – big and small, urban and rural – have applied for licenses in Cook County. And as we’ve seen recently in Alabama, Arkansas and Kansas, the fight for equality is not yet over.”

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