Clerk Yarbrough Celebrates Marriage Equality Milestones

November 20, 2019
Press Release
Vital Records

At 6th anniversary of marriage equality law, Clerk’s Office nears 15,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples

Cook County Clerk Karen A. Yarbrough on Tuesday commemorated two significant milestones – the sixth anniversary of the day Gov. Pat Quinn signed marriage equality into law in Illinois, and the imminent issuing of the 15,000th marriage license to a same-sex couple by the Clerk’s Office.

“The fight for marriage equality was not an easy one. LGBT activists and allies have been fighting for a long time – some of whom are here today after years of work, lobbying, legislating and support for this basic human right many people take for granted,” Clerk Yarbrough said. “Today we look back to celebrate those who fought the good fight and turn our heads towards the future as we continue to safeguard Cook County – and all of Illinois – from bigotry and discrimination.”

As of Nov. 15, the Clerk’s office had issued 14,860 marriage licenses to same-sex couples. With an average of about 114 same-sex couples per month in 2019 getting marriage licenses in Cook County, the Clerk’s Office estimates the 15,000 mark will be passed by the end of the year.

Quinn, in addition to marriage equality activists such as Michael O’Connor and Ben Montgomery; individuals who were plaintiffs in marriage equality lawsuits such as Pat Ewert and James Darby and Patrick Bova; members of the legal teams involved in those lawsuits; state legislators and former state legislators who supported Illinois’ marriage equality bills and others who worked to advance marriage equality, joined Yarbrough at the commemoration at the George W. Dunne County Building on Tuesday morning.

The Clerk’s Office conducted a demographic analysis of the nearly 15,000 same-sex couples who had gotten marriage licenses.

Highlights from their analysis include:

  • The average age of those getting married in the first three years of marriage equality – 2014-2016, was 40. In the three years 2016-2019, the average age had dropped to 37 years old.
  • The couples have come from 47 states and the District of Columbia, and more than a dozen countries outside the U.S.
  • In 2014, 30 percent of the couples were from outside Illinois. In 2019 out-of-state couples were 10 percent of those coming to Cook County for marriage licenses.
  • More than 8,300 couples were Chicagoans at the time they applied for their marriage license. The top three suburbs were: Evanston, 245 couples; Oak Park, 222 couples, and Berwyn, 136 couples.
  • The Top Five Chicago Zip Codes represented by these couples are: 60640 (972), 60660 (645), 60657 (574), 60613 (541) and 60626 (508).

Detailed maps and graphs with demographic information on the same-sex couples who had been issued marriage licenses since 2013 and a timeline of marriage equality, can be found herePhotos of the event can be viewed here.



# # #