Today Illinois’ governor Pat Quinn will sign the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act into law, which passed the Illinois legislature November 5, 2013. The bill is scheduled to be signed at the University of Illinois, Chicago Forum at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon before a gathering of marriage-equality advocates. Governor Quinn will sign the bill on a desk once used by Abraham Lincoln. The law will become effective on June 1, 2014. This means that same-sex couples will be able to apply for marriage licenses in Illinois on June 1, 2014 for a marriage on June 2, 2014 or later. The one day delay is based on an Illinois law that does not allow couples to be married on the same day that they apply for a marriage license.
Many same-sex couples in Illinois will not want to wait until June 2014 to marry in Illinois and may wish to travel to another marriage-equality state to be legally married sooner. For example, in certain circumstances, a couple may want to be married earlier so that one spouse can benefit from a variety of immigration-related benefits, including a green card. For a list of the states that currently recognize same-sex marriage, please visit the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Couples residing in states where same-sex marriage is not permitted should be advised that they can still be eligible for immigration benefits if they marry in another state, as long as the state where the marriage takes place actually recognizes same-sex marriage and the marriage is legally valid. For more information about immigration benefits for same-sex couples, please read this article.
Please contact an immigration attorney at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. if you or your loved one need advice on eligibility for an immigration benefit based on a same-sex marriage.