Clerk Orr issues 1,000th marriage license to same-sex couple

April 18, 2014
Press Release
Vital Records

Cook County Clerk David Orr issued the 1,000th marriage license to a same-sex couple at the downtown office Friday afternoon. Tom Crisham, 36, and Andrew Rodbro, 38, of Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood, were the happy recipients.

“With each of these milestones, same-sex marriage becomes more an everyday fact of life,” Orr said. “In less than two months the steady stream of gay and lesbian couples seeking marriage licenses shows the strength of the institution of marriage.” Orr congratulated the couple personally as they applied for their marriage license.

Crisham, a banker, and Rodbro, a teacher, have been together for 15 years. “When we were able to get a Domestic Partnership, we got that,” Crisham said. “When we were able to get a Civil Union, we got it. And now we’re able to get married.” “We’re excited,” Rodbro added.

Bryan Docter/Cook County Clerk's Office      

Cook County was the first Illinois county to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, immediately following a federal judge’s ruling on Feb. 21. Fifteen other Illinois counties have since followed suit. The rest of the 102 counties in Illinois will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as of June 1.

On average, Clerk Orr’s office issues about 5,300 marriage licenses to opposite-sex couples in a two-month period, or about 32,000 per year.

“These couples have come from every walk of life,” Orr said. “City and suburban, urban and rural, doctors and dentists, attorneys and accountants, teachers, police officers, members of the military, students and retired folks. They’ve ranged in age from 18 to 87. We have seen same-sex couples from nearly half the states in the country come to Cook County to get married.”

Couples can get their marriage license in Cook County, but they must also get married in Cook County, after a one-day waiting period. The marriage license is good for 60 days. Each marriage license is $60, but the fee is waived for those couples who already have civil unions.

Last Friday, April 11, three couples from Ohio, along with one from Indiana, took part in an Ohio Marriage Caravan, driving from their homes to the clerk’s downtown Chicago office to apply for marriage licenses. After being granted a judge’s waiver, they were married that day in Chicago. The Ohio couples, who cannot legally get married in their home state, came to Cook County to get married in advance of a federal judge’s ruling this week that struck down Ohio’s ban on recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages. The ruling was immediately stayed by the judge.

Clerk Orr on Friday reiterated what he said last week, while welcoming the Ohio and Indiana couples. “Overthrowing marriage inequality was a long-fought battle in Illinois, and fundamentally about a core constitutional injustice. So while we are thrilled to put out the welcome mat for couples from Ohio and beyond, we won’t be satisfied until all Americans can lawfully marry their partners in every state in the union."

Of the 1,000 marriage licenses issued by Orr’s office since Feb. 21:

  • Most (679) have gone to Cook County couples and nearly half – 491 have been issued to Chicago couples. 
  • The Chicago zip codes with the highest number of couples have come from: 60640 (63); 60657 (44); 60626 (40); 60660 (37); 60613 (29), and 60625 (19).
  • Suburban couples include: 17 from Evanston, 12 from Schaumburg; 14 from Oak Park, nine each from Berwyn and Des Plaines, seven from Streamwood; six from Aurora; five each from Cicero, Bolingbrook, and Melrose Park. 
  • The clerk’s downtown office has issued 630 of the marriage licenses; Markham 54; Maywood 57; Skokie 115; Rolling Meadows 92; Bridgeview 52. 
  • Non-Cook County Illinois residents include: DuPage County (26); Lake (26); Will (18); McHenry (10); Kane (14), as well as 12 couples from Lake County, Ind., and 10 from Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.
  • Couples from 24 states other than of Illinois and 15 counties outside of Cook have received marriage licenses in Cook County.
  • Multiple couples from the following states have come to Cook County for marriage licenses: Indiana (48); Michigan, (29); Kentucky (23), Ohio (23), Wisconsin (22), Tennessee (13), Florida (9).
  • 11 couples are from Louisville, Kentucky; 4 from Nashville, Tenn., 4 from Cincinnati, Ohio, 4 from Columbus, Ohio, 4 from Clarksville, Tenn.,  7 from Milwaukee, Wisc.
  • The newlyweds have ranged in age from 18 to 87, with an average of 42.3 years old.