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home : local news : local news May 29, 2016

6/3/2014 10:51:00 AM
Indiana couple first to take advantage of same-sex marriage law here
Eddie L. Burris  and Roy S. Lakin, Jr., of Brazil, Ind., are married in Judge Kimbara Harris’s Tuesday. Their marriage was witnessed by Burris’s children, Kirsten and Corey. The couple has been together for 13 years. (Graham Milldrum photo)
Eddie L. Burris and Roy S. Lakin, Jr., of Brazil, Ind., are married in Judge Kimbara Harris’s Tuesday. Their marriage was witnessed by Burris’s children, Kirsten and Corey. The couple has been together for 13 years. (Graham Milldrum photo)
Daily News

The Crawford County Clerk's Office has issued its first same-sex marriage license, to an Indiana couple.

Ray Lakin and Eddy Burris, an Indiana couple, have been together for 13 years. They arrived at the clerk's office before 9 a.m. today to take advantage of an Illinois legalized gay marriage and civil-union conversion law that took effect June 1.

"They were very friendly," Burris said. Employees at the clerk's office said the couple was nervous about getting the license.

The clerk's office has been issuing civil unions since the law went into effect June 1, 2011. The new law allows for the issuance of a same-sex marriage license and the conversion of a civil union to a marriage license.

While the new law has caused controversy on moral grounds, the clerk's office sees it as more of a bureaucratic problem. According to one employee, the forms for marriage licenses are more complicated now, and they are continually getting advice from other clerk offices and the state on how to fill them out. Also, there is no fee for making the conversion from civil union to a marriage license. The marriage license fee is $40.

What they fear is that they will lose revenue by processing conversions from other counties. They have also had calls from Tennessee and Kentucky inquiring about the law and process.

Lakin and Burris plan to be married in the Crawford County Courthouse Tuesday. Judge Kimbara Harrell performs ceremonies on Tuesdays in the courthouse.

Dozens of county-clerk offices across Illinois are also set to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Sunday was the legal start of gay marriage in Illinois. Only a few of the 102 county clerks statewide opened to issue the documents because the day fell on a weekend. So for many, today marks the widespread rollout of the law. Gov. Pat Quinn plans to mark the occasion by attending a wedding at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art on Monday afternoon.

More than a dozen counties started issuing the licenses earlier this year after a federal court ruling, but most counties opted to wait until the law officially took effect June 1.

Dennis Cockrum and Joel Brotherton were among the dozens of couples who lined up in Champaign as gay marriage became officially legal in Illinois.

Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten said his office had processed about two dozen licenses as of Sunday afternoon. He expected to complete between 40 and 50 licenses by the end of the day. June 1 marked the first day all of Illinois' 102 counties could begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Brotherton and Cockrum of Champaign say they've been together for 15 years. Cockrum says the couple felt like they were "part of history." Brotherton called it "a tremendous day for us."

Macon County Clerk Stephen Bean says one couple had come to his office and he expected two others.

Sunday was also the first day couples in civil unions could file to have their unions converted to marriages.

Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Article comment by: Karen Lambert

Congratulations Eddie and Roy!!! And all the others that were married today! So glad Illinois is allowing same sex marriage.. wish Indiana and others would allow it.

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