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updated: 6/2/2014 9:46 PM

Same-sex couples across suburbs line up for marriage licenses

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  • Video: Couples get marriage licenses

  • Video: Lake County marriage licenses

  • Video: Same-sex marriage licenses

  • Catherine Verbic, left, and Jevelyn Verbic react after converting their civil union to a marriage license at the DuPage County Clerk's office Monday in Wheaton. The Naperville couple said they've waited 28 years for the chance to marry.

       Catherine Verbic, left, and Jevelyn Verbic react after converting their civil union to a marriage license at the DuPage County Clerk's office Monday in Wheaton. The Naperville couple said they've waited 28 years for the chance to marry.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Barb McMillan, left, kisses Roseann Szalkowski after they were able to convert their civil union to a marriage license at the DuPage County Clerk's office Monday in Wheaton. The Roselle couple has been together since 2011.

       Barb McMillan, left, kisses Roseann Szalkowski after they were able to convert their civil union to a marriage license at the DuPage County Clerk's office Monday in Wheaton. The Roselle couple has been together since 2011.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Mike Gary, left and Michael Cannon, right, of Hanover Park, share an emotional hug before converting their civil union to a marriage license Monday at the DuPage County Clerk's office in Wheaton.

       Mike Gary, left and Michael Cannon, right, of Hanover Park, share an emotional hug before converting their civil union to a marriage license Monday at the DuPage County Clerk's office in Wheaton.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Alicia Atkinson, left and Laurin Fabry, right, of Eola, are happy to convert their civil union to a marriage license Monday at the DuPage County Clerk's office in Wheaton.

       Alicia Atkinson, left and Laurin Fabry, right, of Eola, are happy to convert their civil union to a marriage license Monday at the DuPage County Clerk's office in Wheaton.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Shelley Bellock, left, deputy clerk, helps Naperville residents David Mancini-Conway, center, and Dan McGuire, right, with their marriage license Monday at the DuPage County Clerk's office in Wheaton. Same-sex marriage officially became legal in the state on Sunday.

       Shelley Bellock, left, deputy clerk, helps Naperville residents David Mancini-Conway, center, and Dan McGuire, right, with their marriage license Monday at the DuPage County Clerk's office in Wheaton. Same-sex marriage officially became legal in the state on Sunday.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • LaDean Lines and Beth Kelley hold up their marriage license after being first in line as same-sex couples received marriage licenses Monday at the Lake County clerk's office in Waukegan. The law legalizing same-sex marriages in the state of Illinois became effective on Sunday.

       LaDean Lines and Beth Kelley hold up their marriage license after being first in line as same-sex couples received marriage licenses Monday at the Lake County clerk's office in Waukegan. The law legalizing same-sex marriages in the state of Illinois became effective on Sunday.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Kevin Schaller and Kevin Fulara of Wauconda receive a marriage license from Mary Anne Potter, of the Lake County clerk's office, as same-sex couples obtained licenses for the first time Monday. The law legalizing same-sex marriages in Illinois became effective on Sunday.

       Kevin Schaller and Kevin Fulara of Wauconda receive a marriage license from Mary Anne Potter, of the Lake County clerk's office, as same-sex couples obtained licenses for the first time Monday. The law legalizing same-sex marriages in Illinois became effective on Sunday.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Kendall Welton of Round Lake Beach takes pictures of her sister, Michele Fagiano, right, with her partner, Shannon, and their daughter, Riley, 7, after receiving a marriage license Monday at the Lake County clerk's office in Waukegan. The law legalizing same-sex marriages in Illinois became effective on Sunday.

       Kendall Welton of Round Lake Beach takes pictures of her sister, Michele Fagiano, right, with her partner, Shannon, and their daughter, Riley, 7, after receiving a marriage license Monday at the Lake County clerk's office in Waukegan. The law legalizing same-sex marriages in Illinois became effective on Sunday.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

 
 

With a quick trip to the DuPage County clerk's office Monday, Roseann Szalkowski and Barb McMillan got to celebrate not only their marriage but their three-year anniversary.

That's because the Roselle couple have had a civil union since June 1, 2011, and on Monday -- the first day of legalized same-sex marriage across most of the state -- that arrangement retroactively was converted to a marriage.

"We've been married for three years, but we just didn't know it. Nobody knew it," Szalkowski said.

Dozens of couples lined up Monday morning at courthouses around the suburbs to mark the historic date by getting marriage licenses or converting existing civil unions to marriages.

Seven couples were waiting for marriage licenses when the Lake County clerk's office in Waukegan opened at 8:30 a.m. Monday. They hugged and laughed with each other, and a few shed tears in anticipation of the historic events about to take place.

Among the early couples were Shannon and Michele Fagiano of Round Lake Beach, who received the county's first civil union license in 2011. They were joined by their 7-year-old daughter, Riley, and Michele's sister, Kendall Welton.

"Now I can say bride or wife instead of spouse or domestic partner," Michele Fagiano said. "It's good. I like that."

Lake County's first license was issued Sunday, the effective day of the law giving everyone in Illinois -- regardless of gender -- equal access to the status, benefits, protections, rights and responsibilities of marriage.

Dana Mills and Laura Danner of Lakemoor arranged the special Sunday meeting with Lake County Clerk Willard Helander, then were wed after receiving a judicial waiver for a same-day ceremony.

The June 1 date was important to Mills and Danner, Helander said, so she obliged their request to convert their civil union into a marriage.

Cook County and 15 downstate counties started issuing same-sex marriage licenses months ago, saying a federal legal decision allowed them to do so. Even so, 120 Cook County couples took advantage of the first date to convert their civil unions to marriages on Monday. Another 140 couples were issued marriage licenses, bringing Cook County's total for same-sex couples to nearly 1,800, Clerk David Orr said.

A supportive heterosexual couple handed out red cupcakes with white frosting to couples getting marriage licenses at the Kane County courthouse in Geneva, and members of the DuPage chapter of PFLAG gave roses to couples at the clerk's office in Wheaton.

Naperville residents Catherine and Jevelyn Verbic have been in a civil union since September 2012. Their dream was to get a marriage license by the time they turned 60.

"I'm 54, and she's almost 56," Catherine Verbic said. "So the world made it right under the wire for us."

Mike Gary said he's happy now because he and Michael Cannon are legally married -- just like their friends and family.

"Civil unions were something, but it wasn't quite what I had hoped for. I just felt like it wasn't enough," said Gary, 32, of Hanover Park.

Most of the couples in line Monday morning in Lake County already had civil unions. That wasn't the case for Alden Smith and Phyllis Gardner of Mundelein, who have been together more than 16 years.

"It's been a long time waiting," Gardner said. "We figured now we can, so we're doing it."

• Daily Herald Staff Writer Gilbert R. Boucher II contributed to this report.

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