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Civil Union Law Inspires Some Illinois Same-Sex Couples to Change Names

By Nottage and Ward on November 16, 2011

The passing of the civil union law in Illinois was enthusiastically supported by the State’s gay community. Since its effective date on June 1st, the law has created many benefits and many challenges, both for same-sex couples and the Illinois government, but the State continues to try and make the law work for everyone. One benefit of the civil union law, that many same-sex couples have been happy to take advantage of, is the ability to take a civil union spouse’s name, according to The Chicago Tribune.

For many same-sex couples in Illinois, entering into a civil union has brought them closer, but being able to easily take their chosen partner’s name and show the community that they are a couple and proud of it has been a much-desired benefit. Although there is no database that keeps track of name changes related to civil unions, approximately 3,000 additional driver’s license name changes were requested between June 1, 2011 and October 31, 2011.

In order to change a name after a civil union in Illinois, the couple must provide proof of their civil union to a Driver Services office and pay a $5 fee for a new driver’s license. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will do the same with proof of a civil union but with no fee. Although name changes permitted by state law are recognized by the U.S. State Department, changing names on federal documents, such as passports, may not be as easy.

The civil union law has brought both rights and challenges to same-sex couples in Illinois. If you have questions or concerns about the rights available to you as a civil union couple, contact the knowledgeable civil union lawyers in Chicago at Nottage and Ward today at (312) 332-2915.

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