First Civil Union Ceremonies Performed

Six couples walked down the aisle just after midnight, and 33 couples will be united Thursday morning at Millennium Park

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCChicago.com
    Six couples tied the knot minutes after midnight on Thursday during a civil union ceremony at the Catalyst Ranch presented by 16 Chicago-area wedding vendors.

    Dozens of couples will tie the knot Thursday morning in a civil union ceremony in Millennium Park, a day after licenses were issued in Illinois for the first time.

    Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel plan to attend the 10 a.m. ceremony, where 33 couples will be united at Wrigley Square at the park by volunteer judges and a minister.

    On Wednesday, more than 200 civil union licenses were issued in Cook County, the first day legal partnerships between same-sex were granted in the state.

    Couples got an early start on the day, lining up around midnight outside the Cook County Clerk’s downtown office. The office opened an hour early in anticipation of a crowd, offering a gift package to the first couple and a raffle of other prizes donated by local businesses.

    Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act in January. Under the new law, gay and heterosexual couples can make joint financial and health care decisions, as well as medical decisions for a seriously ill partner.

    Six couples tied the knot minutes after midnight on Thursday during a civil union ceremony at the Catalyst Ranch presented by 16 Chicago-area wedding vendors.