Illinois
7:00 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Civil Unions to Marriages? Couples Can Choose

Gay couples in Illinois will be able to convert their civil unions into a same-sex marriage. Unions could be affected by the historic bill approved by state lawmakers this month.

When the soon-to-be signed bill goes into effect next June, gay couples in a civil union will have two options. Keep their current status, or convert their certificate into one that says marriage.

Melanie Arnold is a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Health and Vital Records. While the bill does address the convertibility factor, Arnold says they still need to work with county clerks on sorting out the details:

"This just passed through the General Assembly so we are going to be looking at the conversion process overall."

There is language in the bill that says in the first year of the new law, these couples can covert their certificate without holding a new ceremony or paying a fee.

Meanwhile, other observers say while they don't want to discourage gay couples in a civil union from seeking a marriage license, they say they should research how the change would affect their financial situation.