Category Archives: Civil Unions

Get Pampered at SPOIL ME Salon and Spa

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Hair and Spa Services  @

SPOIL  ME SALON  in Uptown.

Every couple deserves to look beautiful and feel confident on the most important and memorable day of their lives. There is no better place to pamper yourself than at Spoil Me Salon and Spa in Uptown at 4668 N. Broadway.

Whether some needed pampering for a couple or whole wedding party, Spoil Me offers a wide array of services in a very relaxing environment.

Esthetics, nails, massage, hair and make-up application, that will help you feel and look your very best.

They work with only professional, top of the line products to assure you quality service.


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EXPERIENCE and quality is what they offer and deliver. With over 20 years experience following and setting contemporary trends in hair, skin and nails. Specialty services include everything from manicures and pedicures to massage and facials. Their creative and innovative team of stylists are experts with all hair textures and their staff is trained with extensions and hair straightening as well.

We have grooms come in  for  pre-pampering and have manicures  and facials, sort of a boys night out, “explains owner Adel, “We have brides come a couple times before the ceremony, some try different hairstyles, some want make-up for the big day, we can do it all.”

It’s nice to have a plan leading up to the big day.  Here are some suggestions to think about….

These wedding preparation tips break down the pre-wedding planning to help you organize what needs to be done and when during the planning process.

6-8 weeks out: Have facial services and consult with your hair and makeup artist. It’s good to do a trial, ask questions and perhaps get inspired for your look.

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2 weeks before: Put your mind and body at ease with a massage. Mention this website at get a 20% discount on any massages in the month before the big day!

Week of:  Consider facial services or waxing with your pedicure and manicure service.

Day of: on site hair and make up services available. RELAX and ENJOY your big day, knowing you look great!

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Spoil Me Hair Salon and Spa

Engagement party, anniversary, weddings and special occasions are their specialty!
Call them today for a free consultation! 773-564-9483
4668 N. Broadway (Btwn Leland and Clifton) Chicago 60640

Many satisfied clients and stellar reviews on YELP!


Charming Gay Weddings in Chicagoland

Welcome To Pine Manor Chicago gay weddings

The holidays are upon us, but if you recently proposed to your mate  or got proposed to, you may be thinking about your wedding for 2015!

While some couples prefer the big city weddings, others prefer to get away and do something charming and quaint!

Relax and feel at home while you say your vows in front of the charming fireplace or in the beautiful backyard garden of historic Pine Manor, private home of Illinois Wedding Officiant Rev. Pamela.

This unique wedding venue offers an intimate, home elegance perfect for a small guest list of up to 30, or a private elopement to Chicagoland’s Northwest suburbs. A Cook County Courthouse wedding alternative for quick ceremonies and a small event venue, the home features a 1920’s flair with honeymoon suite, home cooked catering and wedding packages for every budget. Chicago Wedding Minster, Rev. Pamela will perform your ceremony in a magical way that will touch your soul and inspire your future together.

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The Van Jean Sears Honor Bilt Homes: 1928

The Van Jean is an unusually well arranged Dutch Colonial house. It has many special features not generally found in houses of this price. It has a charming entrance that gives an atmosphere of welcome. It has Colonial windows with divided lights above and one light below. Add to this the white siding and contrasting red or green roof with the red brick chimney and you have a home that is sure to charm the most critical.


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This small wedding venue Chicago is a beautiful alternative to a typical wedding venue and wedding budget. Rev. Pamela offers discount wedding packages that include everything; customized ceremony, delicious home cooked catering, flowers, cake and the honeymoon suite. Unique Wedding Venue Illinois.

You and your guests will immediately fall in love with this quaint in-home venue. Get married next to the romantic brick fireplace or outside in the garden. You will truly feel relaxed so you can be completely present to give your heart, and experience every moment of your special day together.

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A wedding ceremony experience with an ole time quality found at no other. Give Rev. Pamela a call to discuss your event today! 847-873-7463 between 8am-8pm CST chicago.


LIKE  Gay Weddings on  Facebook  for  extra specials!

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March 22, 2015 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Hard Rock Hotel Chicago (Driving Directions)
230 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60601  FREE TICKETS


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Plaintiffs in Illinois Marriage Equality Case Wed After 51 Years Together!

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Patrick Bova and Jim Darby, the plaintiffs in the Illinois marriage equality case, wed today after the law took effect across the state yesterday.

Bova and Darby have been together for 51 years!

Congrations Guys!


Gay Marriage Takes Full Effect Today in Illinois!


Even though it’s Sunday, many county offices are OPEN today for those who want to get their marriage license!

For today, June 1st, 2014, Marriage Equality is in full effect and legal in Illinois!

Gay and lesbian couples across Illinois can now legally wed as the state becomes the latest in the nation to allow same-sex marriage.

Sunday’s celebration is anticlimactic for some, because 16 counties began issuing marriage licenses following a February federal court ruling.

June 1 marks the first day all of Illinois’ 102 counties can issue the licenses to same-sex couples. It’s also the first day couples statewide who have civil unions can ask to convert those to a marriage.

There’s no official number on how many couples have wed so far under the law Gov. Pat Quinn signed in November. But Equality Illinois, a gay-rights advocacy group, estimates about 1,300 same-sex licenses have been issued.

Bernard Cherkasov is the group’s CEO. He calls Sunday “a history-making day in Illinois.”

Read more here:

Gay Weddings this Summer in Illinois

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Equality Illinois and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) Are Joining Forces For 

A Celebration of Marriage Equality 

at the MCA

Monday, June 2, 10–5 pm


On Monday, June 2, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and Equality Illinois will celebrate the passage of historic legislation guaranteeing the right of all people to marry in the state of Illinois by inviting couples to have their weddings at the Museum Of Contemporary Art (MCA) located in downtown Chicago. On this date, the MCA will open its galleries and sculpture garden to offer complimentary ceremonies and post-ceremony festivities for fifteen couples pre -selected from submissions received earlier in the year.
Local Wedding Officiant, Rev Pamela of Mount Prospect, was asked to be one of five officiants to marry these lucky couples with her first of three ceremonies at 2pm. She will be accompanied by her photographer Joey Cieniewicz from who will be recording the event as a gift from Rev Pam for the couples, and handing out Pine Manor “Marry Me” bracelets entitling the wearer to a $25 dollar discount on any of her Services. Rev Pam is the owner of Gay Wedding Chicago Site, A 5-star premier wedding service she provides LGBTQ couples at her 1920’s Dutch Colonial home, Pine Manor Chicago. 
“I am so honored to be one of the five officiants in Illinois to perform the weddings for EQIL and the MCA on June 2nd.” said Rev Pam, “This is a huge privilege. We are all part of a monumental civil rights movement and it is exciting to be right in the middle of it, doing the right thing!” 
Rev. Pam – a life long supporter of human rights equality and same-sex marriage, began opening her home in 2011 to marry couples of all faiths, and lifestyles. The only one of its  kind in Illinois, She provides a one-stop-shop for couples to enjoy a private elopement  or celebration with up to 30 guests. Located in Cook County, Illinois the Rev has been performing legal same-sex marriages since February 2014 when Cook County legalization was passed ahead of the state’s law going into effect. (June)  
The Interfaith officiant performs ceremonies almost every day at the Manor, serving all couples according to their unique personal belief systems and desires. Rev Pam believes “We are all children of the same universe” and everyone deserves to be treated equal. Pam demonstrates this philosophy by getting involved”. Thus the creation of Pine Manor to make all couples feel comfortable and give them an affordable option they can go to make this important life change.  Pine Manor features a honeymoon suite, beautiful garden and 1920s charm, open 8-8pm
The manor is the private home of Rev Pamela with a beautiful garden where she holds many of her summer ceremonies.  Couples come from all over the United States to be married by Rev. Pam – with dozens of 5-Star reviews from happy couples and a discount overnight package with her local hotel partner, The Country Inn and Suites O’Hare Mt Prospect. “Since state law mandates that a couple can not get married the same day they buy the license, the overnight is a lifesaver.” say Pam For more information on Rev Pam And Links to the Best Gay Chicago Article on same-sex marriage equality click on or call 847-873-7463

Out of State Couples Coming to Illinois for Same Sex Marriages

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SAME  SEX MARRIAGE is Officially Legal in Illinois  and many neighboring states are going to be running here to be married.

Why are they doing this? Even if their state will not recognize a marriage from another state, the Federal Government WILL.

No one is breaking any laws  because same-sex marriage is legal here. The couple just need to know how their state will treat them when they get home, each state is different, but on a federal level, they are married.

Based on number’s of last year same-sex couples doing civil unions, I would say my business has increased 50% from out-of-state same-sex couples. Also, keeping in mind everyone was waiting for Illinois marriage equality, this is year is going to be a huge rise in numbers” said Rev. Pamela who handles a lot of LGBT weddings and services in Arlington Heights at the Charming Pine Manor – or she can come to you.

There are lots of lawsuits all over the country right now involving states that currently do not recognize gay marriage.  As of  3-15-2014:

Wisconsin has been challenged;

Tennessee is being ordered, temporarily, to recognize out-of-state gay marriages;

Kentucky is trying to get out of recognizing gay marriages;

Indiana is being challenged;

Michigan has not decided yet;

Ohio is still being challenged – unless you die!

Judges around the country are striking down same sex marriage bans!


Alderman James Cappleman to Get Legally Married in Washington State

Now that DOMA has been struck down and the Federal Government is recognizing LGBT marriage  – why wait for Illinois to decide WTF they are going to do with marriage equality??

Uptown Alderman James Cappelman and his partner Richard have been together for
more than two decades! (Congratulations guys!)   But after waiting anxiously for Illinois to
legalize marriage equality, and in light of the disappointing
stop-and-start progress of an equal marriage bill over the last year,
the couple is heading to Washington state to tie the knot.

Chicago Tribune has the story:

“We are going to go elsewhere,” said Ald. James Cappleman, 46th.
“It’s kind of sad that a Chicago alderman, an elected official, has to
leave his own state. But we’ll keep fighting. There’s a lot of people
who want to get married.”

Cappleman and Richard Thale, who met in church, have been together
for 22 years. The plan to get married Nov. 22, surrounded by relatives
who live out West. The couple already have a civil union in Illinois.

Cappleman said he first spilled the beans Tuesday night on CLTV’s
“Politics Tonight” show when asked what it was like to be an alderman
and gay. He later posted his plans on Facebook.

WHAT IS WRONG WILL ILLINOIS?  Do they realize how much money they are losing by waiting?   I had 2 Chicago friends last week, fly to NYC for their marriage. One is very sickly and they didn’t want to take the risk of losing those federal protections that other married couples already have.


BEST GAY WEDDING in Chicago October 19th, 2013

This is going to be THE BEST GAY WEDDING in Chicago!

We met in July 4 1999 – and had a commitment
ceremony, exactly one year later, at the spot we met at. 

In 2004 when
Domestic Partnerships became available in Ilinois, we signed up!

 In June 2011, we
joined 50 other couples on the steps of the Chicago History Museum, in a
mass Civil Union ceremony. One step closer
to marriage – but not quite there yet. 

We hope Illinois does the right
thing and passes the Marriage bill for our state. We would love to be
legally married on our 15th anniversary, July 4, 2014!

In the meantime, we’re renewing our vows with a ceremony and an amazing reception!!

Minibar and MANY of our favorite local businesses have teamed together to do a $20,000  wedding package for 2 couples – and we are one of the couples! So we will be renewing our vows – for charity. This is the deal. NO GIFTS. We just ask that everyone make a $30 donation to Equality Illinois. HERE.

Get your tickets online now – or the day of, you can buy online – and there should be tickets at the door. But if you can buy online – that helps with headcount for food and such. 

HERE”S THE SCOOP! You donate $30 that goes 100% directly to the MARCH ON SPRINGFIELD charity; whose goal is to push the vote for complete equality in marriage for everyone in Illinois. We ask that you take this event seriously and with great pride, as we can all do a little to accomplish big things!  – So come enjoy a 3 hour wedding celebration for charity!  With champagne, dinner, cake and entertainment! 3 hours of fun, $30 for a great cause!  SATURDAY  OCTOBER  19th  7-10pm. 3341 N. Halsted

 It’s going to be an
awesome event as minibar is transformed into a beautiful wedding space!
Matthew Harvat of E Malone will decorate the space with gorgeous flowers and designer Ramsey Prince is the event planner and says the space will WOW  everyone! Minibar has donated the space, the dinners and the champagne!  Sugar Hills Bakery are creating 2 amazing cakes!  And more and more!


Rock the March: One Hour Concert Will Launch the October 22 March on Springfield for Marriage Equality

Nationally prominent performers with Illinois roots will kick off the March on Springfield for Marriage Equality on Tuesday, Oct. 22
with a free one-hour concert live near the steps of the Illinois State
Capitol. The diverse entertainment bill includes reality TV stars from
“The Voice,” “American Idol,” and “America’s Got Talent;” a national
poetry slam winner; a world champion & MVP quarterback who is also a
pre-Grammy nominee; and a 2013 Trans 100 honoree fighting violence
against transgender people.

“Love transcends gender, sexual orientation
and faith,” said Tracy Baim, March Co-chair, “and Shakespeare wrote ‘If
music be the food of love, play on!’ We are marching to Springfield to
tell the people’s representatives that ‘love is love,’ and that our
families deserve the same marriage benefits granted to other loving
couples in Illinois. What better way to begin the March than by raising
our voices in song and poetry?”

“Rock the March” will kick off with
performances by members of LGBT Choral groups including: Chicago Gay
Men’s Chorus, Windy City Performing Arts, Artemis Singers and Amasong.
Jammin for Justice EarthBeat Drummers will kick off the March.
Headlining performers will be:

*       Sandra Antongiorgi – World, Latin, neo-soul singer, songwriter & painter

*       C.C. Carter – author, activist, teacher and performance poet
*       De’Borah – singer, song-writer and star of “The Voice”
*       Steve Grand – “All American Boy” singer, song-writer and YouTube sensation
*       Sami Grisafe – all-star MVP quarterback and award-winning singer-songwriter

*       Kokumo – African-American transgender woman, singer, writer & performer
*       Stephen Leonard – Out rock powerhouse singer & song-writer
      Marcus Terell & the Serenades – singer, performer and star
of “American                             Idol”, “America’s Got Talent”
& “Making The Band”

The concert will begin at noon on October 22, 2013,
at the March on Springfield stage in front of the Illinois State
Capitol on 2nd Street. The marriage equality rally will immediately
follow the concert, with a march around the State Capitol starting at 2:30 pm

There is no cost to attend and members of the public are welcome. For more information, visit  BUSES   STILL AVAILABLE!!!

Mariano’s Fresh Market will be Extending Insurance Benefits to LGBT Spouses

(Grocery Store) is only in Chicago and is expanding rapidly with plans
to open 8 more Chicago area stores in the next year.

Last year there was some confusion because their headquarters are in Wisconson. Marionos is under the Roundy’s umbrella of stores. And the insurance comes from Wisconsin. But with Civil Unions now and Marriage on the horizon for Illinois, Roundy’s stepped up to make the nbecessary changes, so ALL employees could access EQUAL benefits!

They have advertised to the LGBT community because they an upscale food market the appeals to the LGBT community. They have Sexual Orientation as a protected class in their handbook.  And now they offer equal benefits! 

The LGBT community should support them since they clearly support us. 

Options for LGBT Divorce : Center on Halsted August 13th

 “Alternate Endings: Collaborative Options for Building Strong LGBTQ Families” will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 13 at 7:00 p.m. at Center on Halsted, located at 3656 N. Halsted St., Chicago, Ill. 60613.

by Center on Halsted and the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, a
panel of experienced attorneys and collaborative law fellows – family
law professionals Eva Matela Kogut and Alan H. Boudreau, and estate
planning attorney, Lindsey Paige Markus – will discuss what civil
unions, marriage and divorce mean to LGBTQ families.


discussion will evaluate the Collaborative Divorce Model as a means of
providing options for a peaceful divorce without litigation. The
Collaborate Divorce Model is a team approach for prenuptial agreements,
separations, and divorce that helps a couple plan their family without
going to court and supports families while they make tough financial and
parenting decisions.


community event is free and open to the public. For more information,
please contact Jane Merrill, Advocacy and Community Engagement
Coordinator, at or 773-472-6469 ext. 412


Marriage Equality March in Chicago and 50 States

Next week,  the Supreme Court will hold historic hearings on
DOMA and Proposition 8.
These cases – which
challenge the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
and California’s Proposition 8 – are fundamentally about whether LGBT
Americans can enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities as everyone

March 25,  26 and 27, there will be rallies happening around the US.
CHICAGO’s will take place March  25th  5:30-7:30pm
@  Federal Plaza   50 W. Adams St., Chicago, Illinois 60604

presence and that of your friends and others will make a difference in
the continuing national struggle for equality for all. Join us as we
rally next to the Federal Court in Chicago’s Federal Plaza, corner of
Adams and Dearborn Streets, at 5:30 p.m. on March 25, 2013. 

The Rally
will be followed a candlelight march from Federal Plaza to Pioneer Plaza
(By the Tribune Tower). Please remember to bring a candle. Please
spread the word and add your friends to this invite. Tell the SCOTUS we
demand Marriage EquALLity Now!

Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) and Gay Liberation Network (GLN) are
supporting organizations. Check  FACEBOOK  for additional details and

Marriage Equality is Coming to Illinois!


               OF YOUR TIME!!!
The sponsors of the marriage equality bill in the Illinois General
Assembly are ready to move the legislation to a vote. Equality Illinois
is dedicating their efforts to leaving no stone unturned to achieving that

With your help, Equality Illinois has been working hard across the state to strengthen public support for marriage equality.
However, as you may have heard from reports today, our opposition is
gearing up as well, attempting to flood the lawmakers with their
negative messages.

We need to keep the momentum going and make sure the legislators hear from you! Can you take a moment and send an email to your legislator TODAY?
Please be sure to include why marriage equality matters to YOU and make
it personal. AND, don’t forget to share this on Facebook, Twitter and
with your friends and family!

We can’t pass this bill without your help.
That is why in
the weeks leading up to lame duck session we will be keeping you
regularly updated and asking you to take regular action. 

The time is now to act and make marriage a reality!

Just fill out your zip code! And you can automatically send out a message to your legislators! It’s so fast. PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD!


RAHM Pushes for Marriage Equality in Illinois

 “The time is right” for marriage equality,  says Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel.
He has thrown his considerable political weight behind getting a same-sex marriage bill passed in Illinois. 
The mayor had a letter to that effect published in Tuesday’s Chicago Sun-Times, and he followed that up with a conversation with The Advocate, noting in both that the results of last week’s election make this an opportune time to continue the push for equality.

University Club in Molene Refuse to Host Lesbian Wedding

The historical University Club in Molene created a stir this week.  When a Taylor Shumaker, a lesbian got a tour and inquired about renting the hall, the manager   Kristen Stewart  said she could rent to homosexuals.

In a phone interview with WQAD, Stewart says it is all true, and defended her right to refusal.

“I am a biblical Christian and I do not
believe in homosexual marriage, that’s correct. And because marriage is a
covenant that God created for man and woman, as a biblical Christian, I
cannot help them into or celebrate that sin,” said Stewart.
Stewart is the wife of the president of the University Club, and daughter-in-law of its owners.

According to Illinois laws, this is against to law to refuse homosexuals couples!

Kristen Stewarts husband, who is President of the University Club, says his wife mis-spoke, and they WILL rent to homosexuals! – Perhaps his lawyer said he’d better correct the issue….


Illinois Civil Unions – One Year Later

Separate and still not equal. 

It is clear that a lot of heterosexual people do not want gay couples using the word “marriage” – but the reality is, marriage is marriage and comes with 100% full benefits. I do not care what your church believes. The government recognizes are “marriage” as coming with full benefits and rights.

Marriage is a unique legal status conferred by and recognized by
governments all over the world. It brings with it a host of reciprocal
obligations, rights and protections. It is also a cultural
institution. No other word has that power and no other status can
provide that protection.

Married couples have 1,138 federal rights and protections.

ALLEGEDLY, Civil Unions provide legal protection to couples at the state law
level, but omits federal protections, as well as the dignity, clarity,
security and power of the word “marriage”.

Civil unions give
couples the right to make funeral and end-of-life decisions, the right
to share a room in a nursing home, automatic hospital visitation,
adoption and parental rights, pension benefits, inheritance rights, the
right to decide how to dispose of a partner’s remains, and the right not
to testify against each other in court.

But a lot of the biggies are missing;  like Social Security benefits upon death, disability or retirement of spouse, as well as benefits for minor children.
And how about Exemptions from penalties on IRA and pension rollovers?  and Exemptions from estate taxes when a spouse dies ??

Nearly 5,000 couples have filed for Civil Union status in Illinois.

Civil unions grants SOME rights, but even then, many LGBT couples testify they are not treated with the same respect as a heterosexual married couple.

Equality Illinois  did a study and survey that shows the  Illinois  Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act did not provide
civil union couples with the same protections as civil marriage, as
promised one year ago.

Separate and Unequal—A Cicil Union is still Second Class Status.

Check out the informative study online.

Sponsored  by 
EQIL, creating change in Illinois!


BREAKING NEWS! Illinois Attorney General will Join The Fight for Gay Marriage

When a state’s
Attorney General intervenes in a lawsuit challenging the legality of
that state’s laws, the Attorney General usually sides with the defense.
Not so in the cases of the Darby v. Orr and Lazaro v. Orr, the two lawsuits filed last week in Illinois, which challenge the state’s civil unions law.

From MetroWeekly:

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) will be joining Lambda
Legal and the ACLU in arguing that Illinois’s civil unions law does not
meet the state’s constitutional guarantees of equal
protection, raising the question of what the Cook County clerk of
courts — the named defendant — will do in its response to the

The move came just two days after Lambda Legal and the ACLU each filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the civil union law. 

In a pair of June 1 filings in Darby v. Orr and Lazaro v. Orr, which were reviewed by Metro Weekly,
the attorney general’s office has requested to intervene in the cases
… In the requests, Madigan writes, “Petitioner respectfully requests
the right to intervene in this case to present the Court with arguments
that explain why the challenged statutory provisions do not satisfy the
guarantee of equality under the Illinois Constitution.”

On June 25, the Attorney General’s Office will make the request to intervene in Darby, which was brought by Lambda Legal. On June 26, the office will make the intervention request in Lazaro, which was brought by the ACLU.

Read more:

Civil Unions in Illinois and Estate Planning May 16


 Robert Iverson, an attorney at Lavelle Law, Ltd. will give a seminar at the Center on Halsted entitled, “Civil Unions:
 Important Estate Planning Considerations.”

The seminar will take place on Wednesday, May 16th from 6:30 -8:00 p.m. The Center on Halsted  3656 North Halsted.

The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act became effective on June
1, 2011. The law recognizes a new legal relationship that is in many ways similar to marriage,
but with certain limitations. Iverson will review the law and explain the rights and benefits of
Illinois citizens with Civil Union status. The seminar will include information about obtaining and
dissolving a Civil Union in Illinois, inheritance rights, the right to renounce a partner’s will,
factors involved with making important health decisions for an incapacitated partner, as well as
issues such as filing a joint state income tax return. “The new legislation is a big step for Illinois,
but it is important that partners fully understand what their union means legally,” said Iverson. “I
hope that, after the seminar, participants will have a clearer picture of the rights afforded by the
law, and how to best move forward with their legal relationship.”

Following the lecture, Iverson will make time for questions and an interactive discussion
about the law and its impact on those present.
Iverson focuses much of his practice at Lavelle Law on Estate and Tax Planning, Trust
and Estate Administration, Trust Controversy Litigation, and Contested Decedents’ Estates.
While attending John Marshall Law School, Iverson earned the CALI Excellence for the Future
Award in Taxation of Trusts and Estates and served as a Staff Editor of the Law Review.

Space is limited for the event, so pre-registration is required. To register for the event,

email with the event title in the subject line or call 773-472-6469 ext436.



LGBT Wedding Expo Sunday March 25th

This is a very fun event – we went last year and you got lots of great ideas!  Flowers, cakes, photography, caterers , cocktails and more!

4th Annual Gay & Lesbian Wedding Expo in Chicago!

Couples throughout Illinois are continuing to joyfully plan their civil union ceremonies
– JOIN US as we celebrate together! 
4th Annual Same Love, Same Rights LGBT Wedding Expo will be hosted once
again by the beautiful Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza, with a signature
view of the river and is scheduled for Sunday March 25th, 2012.

(easy access right off the Brown Line  M. Mart exit!)

This year’s event promises more excitement than ever, with New
Planning Trends, Fresh Giveaways & Samples, and over 30 select
gay-friendly exhibitors to help create the ceremony of your dreams. 
Event planners, officiants, ceremony & reception venues,musicians
and DJs, photographers, caterers, floral artists and more!  Travel,
health, home and family-planning businesses will also be represented.

First 200 couples will receive a
keepsake fabric Swag Bag!  Exciting Raffle Giveaways this year include
Sightseeing Tours courtesy of Anita Dee Yacht Charters!

event is free to attend; $5.00 donation per person is suggested, but we
do ask that you pre-register for free tickets.  25% will go directly to
Equality Illinois!



Civil Unions Burdened with Complex Illinois State Income Tax Rules

By Linu Thomas

Civil Unions became effective on June 1, 2011 in Illinois through the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act.

Under this law, partners in a civil union must file a joint Illinois Income Tax returns as married couples beginning in January.  Although, the Illinois Department of Revenue did not make it clear if they were going to accept joint returns when the law went into effect, it has now mandated them.  Because partners in a same-sex civil union cannot file joint federal returns, they will have to take special steps this year to file their Illinois returns.

If you are an opposite-sex civil union and you and your partner are treated as spouses for federal income tax purposes, you have the option to file an Illinois state income tax return as married filing jointly or married filing separately just like any other married couple.  This favorable filing status for federal purposes does not apply for same-sex civil unions.  Because same-sex civil unions are not recognized under federal law, partners to a same-sex civil union are not permitted to file joint federal income tax returns or to claim tax breaks or protections that the federal government affords to married spouses.

For state purposes, Illinois allows same-sex civil unions to file a state income tax return either as married filing jointly or married filing separately, but the Illinois Department of Revenue does not make it easy for these couples to be compliant.  In order to file either married filing jointly or married filing separately you must complete a “mock” federal return with the same filing status you picked for the state return.  For example, if you and your same-sex partner choose to file a joint Illinois return, you must complete a federal “as-if-married-filing-jointly” return, for Illinois purposes only.  Also, if you and your same-sex partner choose to file separate Illinois returns, you must complete federal “as-if-married filing separately” returns, for Illinois purposes only.  It is very important that you do not send the “mock” federal return you prepared to the IRS.  The “mock” returns will be used for Illinois purposes only.  When completing your “mock” federal return please include all schedules and attachments, applying all the federal rules for the married filing status you choose.  In addition, on the Illinois income tax return you must enter “as-if-married” federal information where Illinois requires federal information.  The worst part of this process is that same-sex civil unions will not be allowed to properly file using electronic methods (E-File).  Same-sex civil unions must file a paper return.       

Special Situations

Special situations you may encounter while completing your federal “as-if-married” return for IL state income tax purposes only.

Earned Income Credit – You must compute your federal earned income credit using the income of both partners in order to properly calculate the correct amount for the state.

“As-if-Married-Filing-Separately” – If you choose this filing method for your “mock” federal return remember that you cannot claim an earned income credit or receive a federal deduction for student loan interest and higher education tuition.

Capital Losses – If you have a net capital loss this year or a net capital loss carryover to this year and offset it against your partner’s capital gain on a recomputed joint return, you may not carry your capital loss over to any other year, even if you file separately in that year or file a joint return with a different spouse.

Net-Operating Losses – If you have a federal net operating loss this year or a federal net operating loss carryback or carryover to this year and you use that loss to offset income of your partner on a recomputed joint return, you may not carry that loss to any other year, even if you file separately in that year or file a joint return with a different spouse.

Please refer to the Illinois Department of Revenue website for additional information on same-sex civil union tax filing procedures or call Provident Light Advisors at 866-256-9621 to schedule an appointment to discuss your return.  Provident Light Advisors LLC provides accounting, tax, and consulting services. We are simple, honest, and affordable. Since we are a family owned business we treat our customers as members of our own family. No matter what the time of the day we are here to answer your accounting and tax questions.  Provident Light Advisors is also a proud member of the Chicago Area Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. 

Linu Thomas, Partner

Provident Light Advisors LLC
22 W. Washington Street Suite 1500,   Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 957-5751


Freedom to Marry – this Sunday Feb. 12th 10:30 AM

With Equal Marriage Victories in California & Washington, It’s Time to Step Up in Illinois!
This Sunday, Participate in Freedom to Marry Day 2012! 

10:30 AM, in front of Holy Name Cathedral,
735 N. State Street, Chicago

With the wins in California and Washington, some Springfield legislators say they will now make a serious push for equal marriage legislation this year in Illinois. 
As they do so, we can expect that the usual suspects to loudly bray
about how “unfair” equal rights legislation is, and demonize LGBT people
in the process.

Chief among them will be Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George. 
George is already on record comparing lesbians and gays to the KKK, and
repeatedly defended that insulting comparison before finally issuing
what many considered an inadequate apology.  The “apology” implied that
he still thinks that many lesbians and gays are fascists, and he
justified his blasts against us by playing the victim card, saying he
was motivated by his alleged fear for “the liberty of the church.”

But he’s hardly a victim. George, as head of the
National Conference of Catholic Bishops, spent tens of thousands backing
the anti-gay referendums Proposition 8 in California and Question 1 in
Maine.  After the passage of the civil unions bill in Illinois, George
pompously predicted, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in
prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”

As marriage equality moves forward this year in Illinois, look for
Cardinal George to once again take his bigotry out from under wraps,
trying to lean on Illinois legislators to vote against equality.

As a cover for this bigotry, look for him to try to play the victim
role again, falsely stating that equal marriage legislation in Illinois
would somehow force the Catholic Church to celebrate marriages it
chooses not to.

Look for him to violate the church’s tax-exempt status by using its institutional power to advocate on legislation.

We can sit back and take it –
as Californians fatefully did with the Mormon Church before the passage
of Proposition 8 – or we can proactively push back against this bigotry

Please come to Freedom to Marry Day 2012 at 10:30 AM this Sunday, Feb. 12 in front of Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State Street,
and stand with the majority of lay Catholics and others of good will
who support equal rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender

This protest was initiated by the Gay Liberation Network and is supported by the 8th Day Center for Justice, the Chicago Rainbow Sash Movement, Dignity/Chicago and Equality Illinois.

 For more information, email


BREAKING NEWS – Marriage Equality Bill introduced in Illinois

Moments ago, Representatives Greg Harris, Deb Mell, and Kelly Cassidy
filed a marriage equality bill in Illinois General Assembly.

We commend these leaders for taking yet another step towards
full equality for lesbian and gay families in Illinois, and we are
grateful to them for their leadership.  This is just the beginning: the
road to marriage equality is sure to be long, but it is one that we must
travel together.

In following experiences of thousands of couples in civil unions
over the past year, we confirmed what we always suspected to be true:
that creating a separate institution to provide substantially the same
rights did not add up to full equality under the law. 
A pharmacist who
denied prescription pick-up to the patient’s civil union partner didn’t
think it’s the same thing as marriage.  A coroner who refused to issue a
death certificate to civil union partner survivor did not think that
civil unions are the same as marriage.  Tax preparers, estate planners,
employers and employees do not think that civil unions are the same as
marriage.  Separate is not equal.  And we at Equality Illinois will not
rest until gay and lesbian couples in every corner of the state – who
are equal in love – are also equal in marriage.

Just yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th
Circuit held that California’s denial of marriage in favor of domestic
partnerships for same sex couples violated the U.S. Constitution. 

In days, weeks, and months to come, we will share with you our strategy for moving forward toward marriage equality.  Please join us in this urgent and important work.  We cannot succeed without you.

Very truly yours,

Bernard Cherkasov
Chief Executive Officer


Rosie O’Donnell and Michelle Rounds Engaged


She  broke the news to her audience today in Chicago  during a break set aside for
commercials during the taping of her  new show, at the Harpo Studios.

Rosie did not say if it would be a civil union in the state of Illinois or just what the plans would be.

On Friday, she posted a photo of Michelle Rounds
on her Instagram page with the word “love.” She also Tweeted a link –
this time with the caption “happy – in love” – of her new fiancée the
same day.

The lesbian couple met at a Starbucks. In October, O’Donnell joked
that her “gaydar was way off” because she thought Rounds was
heterosexual and just 28 years old, when really she is a gay woman and

“It’s fun and very exciting,” O’Donnell recently said about the relationship. “I did not expect it.”


Beyond the Civil Union License…Celebrate Your Union with a Party

 “It has been a long journey here, and for all of you entering into civil unions today, you have a long and fruitful journey ahead,”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel told the crowd yesterday as the first cermonies began being held!.

Illinois is the sixth state to allow civil unions or their equivalent, which provide same-sex or opposite-sex couples the same state-level rights as married couples. Wednesday was the first day couples could get civil union licenses and, as with marriage, there is a one-day waiting period before a ceremony can be held.

“This is indeed a historic day, a special day that all of us in the land of Lincoln can celebrate,” Governor Quinn said. “There are all kinds of families in Illinois, but we are all the family of Illinois.”

So you want to have a Civil Union?!

Step One –  register with Cook County
                                 And then  you have a judge Civil Union-ize you.

Step Two – Do you want more of a formal
                                      ceremony for family and friends?

You will need an officiant. Meet Reverend Vito Anthony!  “My role as celebrant is to offer a non-judgmental, non-denominational, spiritual ceremony for you and your loved ones, for any variety of momentous occasions in your life. As the pages turn with every new chapter in your life-whether it be one of joy or sorrow-it is equally important to mark your new chapters with a dignified ceremony. It is my goal to provide you with a ceremony that will not only fit your exact needs, but also to conduct a unique and memorable ceremony to help you begin your journey, whether in grief or happiness. –  I am VERY EXCITED that the State of Illinois is offering Civil Unions to the LGBT Community!”   

Rev. Vito Anthony   

Every wedding or party HAS TO HAVE A CAKE! 

OAK MILL BAKERIES has 6 locations in Chicago, are a family-owned retail and wholesale specialty Bakery committed to providing only the freshest and finest European style baked goods. The BEST I have ever seen or tasted!

 Specializing in high-end cakes, superior pastries, tortes, sweet table displays, and baked goods made from scratch and fresh from their  ovens daily. Their gourmet products are made from natural ingredients using only fresh fruits & purees, natural butter, fresh eggs, fresh whipping cream and parve (kosher) chocolate imported directly from Europe. Their products are guaranteed to make your special event delicious, and we invite you to stop by one of our stores to sample  their daily selections.

 Born of Polish heritage, Bogna Iwanowska-Solak came to the United States in 1981 with plans extending only to a short vacation. She ended up staying and launching a successful bakery business. With quality and freshness at the forefront, Oak Mill Bakery still imports some of its ingredients directly from Poland staying true to its roots. This combination of European and natural ingredients along with attention to detail has created what many consider to be a source of pastry perfection.

Oak Mill Bakeries

What About Flowers?   

Andrea North at FlowerPetal says, “We have earned the trust of many couples  by delivering on the promise of providing the same high level of service to each and every one of our customers. We know you have a choice, and we encourage you to shop around and find the best fit for your wedding or ceremony. When you decide on FlowerPetal for your wedding, you will know you’ve made the right choice.

And we are very excited to be working with the LGBT community of Chicagoland!  This is an exciting time!

Many wedding vendors hear the word “wedding”  and automatically raise the prices!  “We don’t charge a “Wedding Tax”.  Many florists automatically double or triple their prices when they hear you are shopping for a wedding. FlowerPetal  charges the same prices regardless of the event type, and allows each customer  to decide for themselves  how much time they  needs with our wedding consultant and our professional florist. We automatically include 2 hours with our wedding  consultant to ensure everything is tailored to your specifications.”

Andrea North at FlowerPetal    1-800-893-5719  ext 103 

 What else do you need?  Invitations?  A hotel and/or honeymoon package?  A caterer?  Decorations?? Many people do not realize how invaluable a planner can be to them.

Take a deep breathe,  ADH EVENTS can help.  Whether you’re planning your ceremony locally or internationally, ADH Meetings & Events  can  help. From an intimate wedding, buying out a small boutique hotel which allows for all the guests to get to know each other over a few days, or planning a wedding on a grand scale, ADH assists in provide the right balance. According to Alexander deHilster “your wedding might not seem a destination wedding to you when you’re planning it in your home town, for many of your guests who are traveling from afar it would be. Often the guests’ experience seems to get lost in the process of planning the perfect day.”

ADH  Events can assist with any of the needs for your special day from locating the perfect wedding/reception venue to arranging hotel accommodations for out-of-town guests, a dedicated phone line for your guests to book air travel , to assisting in menu, floral, entertainment, transportation and decor selection all while staying within your budget. Their  dedicated coordinators will plan every detail to make sure everything runs smoothly so you can enjoy your day.

Additionally, “The time spent to plan a gay or lesbian ceremony are just as involved as planning a conventional wedding, but for gay and lesbian couples there are a few important details to consider.”  says owner Alexander deHilster. ” With constant changes in rules and regulations in cities, states and countries around the globe, and depending in which part of the world you’re planning to commit to your life partner, the names run from commitment ceremonies, civil unions and weddings, we at ADH  Events are here to help you.” 

“Some places only allows for you two to commit legally if one of the partners is either a residence or a national, other locations requires you’re both residents while at others there are no residency requirements at all.” ADH  will make the entire planning experience a smooth one and helps you to find the perfect location to make this day a very special one! From Buenos Aires, Mexico City or Hawaii to Chicago, Paris or Amsterdam –  they can  help!

ADH  EVENTS   312-265-9759

Now Go Get Hitched!

Best Gay


Gay Couples say Civil Unions a step in the Right Direction, for Chicago

Chicago – Cook County Clerk David Orr said his office issued 203 civil union licenses   on the first day they were able to  in Illinois. 

Orr’s office said Wednesday evening that many couples arrived before the clerk’s office opened in downtown Chicago.   But officials say the office saw a steady stream of couples applying for civil unions until the office closed at 7 p.m.

The first civil union license was issued Wednesday morning to Janean Watkins and Lakeesha Harris of Chicago, who arrived at midnight to be the first couple in line at the Daley Center, according to the release.
(They started the line at Midnight last night!)

“This is a day long in the making,” said Orr, who is on assignment in Macedonia as an election monitor.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 150 couples had obtained licenses at the Clerk’s downtown office, including a few dozen at the Clerk’s five suburban offices. At least two of the couples were heterosexual, the release said.

Harris and Watkins have six children and have been together more than a decade.

Another couple, Pam Voss and Melody Fairchild started dating 13 years ago. “It’s nice to finally have your relationship validated,” Voss said.

Qadree and Troy Holmes, who have been together for six years, met at a barbeque Qadree hosted. Although the couple had a wedding ceremony in 2007 at their church, they were grateful for the opportunity to have a civil union.

Hyde Park residents James Darby, 79, and Patrick Bova, 73, the oldest couple to obtain their civil union license Wednesday, have been a couple for nearly a half century. The youngest couple were Elena Denise Cano, 21, and Jannett Lopez, 20.

Because Watkins and Harris were first in line to receive their civil union license, they received a gift package from several sponsors, including: a two-night stay at the Palmer House Hilton; free Eli’s Cheesecake each anniversary for the rest of their lives; a $100 gift certificate to Wilde Bar & Restaurant; a Starbelly Studios photo shoot with three complimentary prints; a $100 Downtown Bar & Lounge gift certificate; and a $50 LaSalle Flowers gift certificate.

More than 80 other “presents” were donated and raffled off at a reception hosted by the Clerk’s office. Grand prize winners Jef Johnson and Allen Nichols received a 2-hour party cruise from Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, which includes complimentary wine and beer as well as a gift basket with champagne, chocolate and more (valued at $2,500).

In north suburban Lake County, County Clerk Willard Helander reported that six couples were in line for their civil union licenses by 8:30 a.m. As of 3:30 p.m. 15 civil union licenses had been issued in Lake County, according to Helander’s office.

Married couples have 1,138 federal rights, protections and responsibilities.
Civil Unions provides legal protection to couples at the state law level, but omits federal protections, as well as the dignity, clarity, security and power of the word “marriage”.

Civil unions give couples the right to make funeral and end-of-life decisions, the right to share a room in a nursing home, automatic hospital visitation, adoption and parental rights, pension benefits, inheritance rights, the right to decide how to dispose of a partner’s remains, and the right not to testify against each other in court. It is more than we had before!  I’ll take it. For now.


Cook County to Shower Happy Couples With Presents on June 1st – The first Official Day of Civil Unions

June 1st will be an exciting day for the Cook County Clerk’s office.  Not only will we be issuing our very first Civil Union licenses, but we will shower the happy couples with the wonderful presents donated by area businesses.”  said   David Orr, Cook County Clerk.


Illinois will begin offering Civil Union licenses at every county clerk’s office on June 1. The Cook County Clerk’s office will open its downtown office early to mark the momentous occasion. “I’m thrilled this day has finally come,” Clerk David Orr said. “This will be a joyous day for all couples – gay and straight – who want to make history as part of the inaugural group of civil unions.”



Wednesday, June 1. The Clerk’s downtown Chicago Vital Records office will open at 7:30 a.m.



Before 6 a.m., couples should line up outside the Daley Center’s northeast door, located near Randolph and Dearborn Streets. The Daley Center, 50 W. Washington St., will open at 6 a.m. Couples should take the escalators down to the lower level (Pedway) and line up outside the Vital Records office, Room CL-27.



Civil Union licenses will be available to same-sex and heterosexual couples. The Clerk’s office encourages all couples who wish to get a license on June 1 to visit the downtown office (not a suburban office). All couples need to meet the following criteria:


• Be at least 18 years old;

• Not be related to one another;

• Have valid, current identification, such as driver’s license, state ID or U.S. passport;

• Pay a $35 license application fee. Cash preferred. MasterCard, American Express & Discover accepted. Personal checks and Visa will not be accepted.

• Couples who are currently registered as Domestic Partners in Cook County will receive a $20 discount and their domestic partnership will be automatically dissolved.

• Any couple planning to participate in a June 2 ceremony – including the Millennium Park event hosted by the City of Chicago, Lamda Legal, Equality Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Judges – MUST obtain a license from the Clerk’s office on June 1.

A license is valid for a ceremony held within 60 days of the issue date. By law, couples must wait until the day after they obtain their license to have their Civil Union ceremony performed so June 2 is the first day Civil Union ceremonies can be held. Within 10 days of a ceremony, Civil Union officiants must return the completed license for it to be certified and recorded by the County Clerk.


Civil Union “presents” have been donated by 20 local businesses. The first couple in line at 7:30 a.m. will receive a gift package. Other presents will be distributed by raffle; couples in line by 7:30 a.m. will be eligible. The Clerk’s office will invite all couples back to a party room for cake and chocolate, donated by Eli’s Cheesecake and Illinois Nut & Candy.



Wilde Bar & Restaurant

Transistor Starbelly Studios Photography Restoration Salon

The Palmer House Hilton

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Sierzega & Associates, Ltd.

Mendell on the Move

LaSalle Flowers

Lambda Legal

Lady Gregory’s

Illinois Nut & Candy Goodman Theatre

Eli’s Cheesecake

Downtown Bar & Lounge

Crew Bar + Grill

Chicago’s First Lady Cruises

Best Gay Chicago

Angel’s Restaurant

ADH Meetings & Events


CIVIL UNIONS Available in Chicago and Illinois June 1st

 JUNE 1st 2011! 

That is the first day couples can officialy register their CIVIL UNION with the State of Illinois!   –  It’s NOT gay marriage –  but it a huge step in the right direction, for the state and MANY couples are expected to register.

“Here we are in 2011 on the eve of Abraham Lincoln’s 202nd birthday and I think this is very special,” Governor Quinn said. “We believe in civil rights and we believe in civil unions.”

With the move, Illinois joins five other states and the District of Columbia in establishing statewide laws to provide the equivalent of state-level spousal rights to same sex couples.


Thirty Illinois Couples to Hold Civil Union Ceremonies in Chicago’s Millennium Park on June 2, 2011
Governor to Attend Chicago’s Celebration of Civil Unions
In celebration of the first day of civil union ceremonies in Illinois, the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations’ Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues will host 30 civil union ceremonies at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 2, in Wrigley Square at Millennium Park, Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.

“Our state’s first civil union ceremonies will mark a day of celebration and an historic milestone on the road to full marriage equality for LGBT Illinoisans,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I look forward to attending this joyful event.”

The event is co-sponsored by The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture, Lambda Legal, Equality Illinois, and the Alliance of Illinois Judges. Governor Pat Quinn will attend, and Cook County Clerk David Orr, the Hon. Timothy C. Evans, Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, and members of the Alliance of Illinois Judges will officiate the civil union ceremonies.

THEN on JUNE 3rd – @ 

Chicago History Museum

1601 North Clark St. , 

Unite with Pride:
A Community Celebration
, hosted by the Civil Rights Agenda. a multi-couple civil union ceremony to celebrate the enactment of civil unions in Illinois and the beginning of Pride Month in Chicago.

Unite with Pride will provide couples an opportunity to be civilly united in an historic outdoor community civil ceremony on the picturesque “Uihlein Plaza” just days after the civil union law takes effect.

The festivities will continue as couples, family, friends, and the community attend a black-tie optional cocktail reception with entertainment, hors d’oeuvres and desserts provided by various vendors from the event planning industry.

In addition to the ceremony and reception, guests will be granted access to the newly opened Chicago History Museum exhibit “Out in Chicago”. The “Out in Chicago” exhibit will explore how the evolution of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community mirrors broader changes throughout the city over the past 150 years.

This fundraiser will benefit our Families United Project. The Families United Project is an exploration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer families in Illinois. The goal of the Families United Project is to gain equality for every family in Illinois through the use of social media, political advocacy and by building community. We seek to engage all people who believe that every family in America deserves to be equal.

Please go to to buy your tickets!
Those guests and couples who register or have already registered for the event by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday May 28 will be automatically entered in a drawing to have brunch with Al Franken when he is in town on June 12!  This is a private event and you will be able to meet and brunch with the Senator. Senator Franken is a leader on progressive causes and is committed to advancing LGBT Rights.
Don’t miss this opportunity to meet the Senator and register now!

on  Sunday June 5, 12:30PM     Civil Unions – What do they mean?
St. Pauls United Church of Christ,   2335 N Orchard, Chicago 60614

As this new Illinois law goes into effect on June 1, what are the legal and financial implications for you and your loved ones? Is a civil union a good idea for you? Bring your questions to this panel discussion featuring legal professionals, including a representative from Lambda Legal.

Box lunch available for $10.
Please RSVP by May 31, indicating if you’d like a lunch, to: or phone 773-348-3829.



Mass Civil Union Ceremony and Reception June 3rd in Chicago

The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA),
an Illinois statewide LGBTQ
advocacy and political organization,
will be hosting a mass civil union
ceremony to celebrate the enactment
of civil unions in Illinois and the
 beginning of Pride Month in Chicago.
Unite with Pride:
A Community Celebration
June 3rd at 5:00pm at
The Chicago History Museum. 

Unite with Pride will provide couples an opportunity to be civilly united in an historic outdoor community civil ceremony on the picturesque “Uihlein Plaza” just days after the civil union law takes effect.  The festivities will continue as couples, family, friends, and the community attend a black-tie optional cocktail reception with entertainment, hors d’oeuvres and desserts provided by various vendors from the event planning industry.

In addition to the ceremony and reception, guests will be granted access to the newly opened Chicago History Museum exhibit “Out in Chicago”. The “Out in Chicago” exhibit will explore how the evolution of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community mirrors broader changes throughout the city over the past 150 years.

(Top photo –
“Recognizing the historic significance of civil unions beginning in Illinois, we thought it most fitting to have Unite With Pride at the Chicago History Museum, which also happens to be one of the most beautiful venues in the City for couples who wish to celebrate their union,” said Derrick Taylor, Event Director for Unite With Pride and President of Taylor & Co. “The couples who are participating have so many different reasons for taking part. Some couples don’t have the funds to do their own event so they are participating in this and inviting their friends and family.  Other couples have already solemnized their relationship in Iowa or elsewhere so this is a great way for them to take part in recognizing their Civil Union here in Illinois. Others still just want to assist an organization that helped pass the law and is fighting for LGBTQ families across Illinois.”

Jayson Bernard and Roberto Rosario are one of the couples that are taking part in the ceremony. “Roberto and I met eight years ago and it was love at first sight,” stated Jayson.”It’s nice to know we can finally show the world that our love deserves to be recognized by laws and society.” “This is a huge step for our community and we are honored to be a part of this event and help TCRA,” said Roberto. 
Unite with Pride: A Community Celebration is a fundraiser for The Civil Rights Agenda which continues the fight to establish equality for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. All proceeds of the event will benefit the Families United Project. The Families United Project is an exploration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer families in Illinois through the use of social media, political advocacy and by building community.
“The goal of the Families United Project is to gain equality for every family in Illinois. We hope to build a community of families that are made up of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people,” said Anthony Martinez, Executive Director of The Civil Rights Agenda.  “We will help to empower this community to seek justice and equality for their families.”
Tickets for the event can be purchased at Joint CRA. Tickets for community guests are $50 and couples are asked to make a suggested donation of $75, but no couple will be turned away from participating due to financial capability.

*NOTE- Couples can apply for their actual Union license on June 1st or 2nd  with Cook County –  you will want to get your application in BEFORE 5pm on the 2nd, so that you can technically participate in the mass ceremony and have everything be legal.

more  info  email        info (at)


Financial Impact of the Illinois Civil Unions Act FREE Seminar April 5th

Money Smart week
begins this week in Chicago

with a series of about 100 educational free seminars around the city.

On April 5th, one is being held downtown specifically for the LGBTQ community and the
 Financial Impact of the Illinois Civil Unions Act

How will this affect us financially?
Come find out at the FREE event!

Tuesday Arpil 5, 2011 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago 230 LaSalle street

The featured speakers are from Metx and Associates and Equality Illinois. The event is free and open to the public, so feel free to share with family, friends and colleagues.

Best Gay


Civil Union Tracker PLUS LGBT Wedding Expo

We know that many couples are looking forward to celebrating their civil union with family and friends after the law goes into effect on June 1, 2011.

The LAMBDA LEGAL/Equality Illionis Civil Union Tracker system aims to ensure that same-sex and different-sex couples who have a civil union (either because they have applied for one in Illinois, or because their out-of-state marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership qualifies as a civil union in Illinois) are treated fairly under Illinois law.

We know from experience in other states that have adopted civil union laws, that many couples and their children encounter problems getting respect for their relationships, whether in hospitals settings, by insurers, employers, schools or in other situations. While not all unfair treatment leads to legal action, knowing more about your rights will help you respond.

Please join our Illinois Civil Union Tracker. Complete the form and you will be connected to our team of experts who will help you navigate this new territory in Illinois. If you or someone you know is having trouble getting proper treatment as a couple in a civil union, contact the Illinois Civil Union Tracker Team.


ALSO – LGBT  WEDDING  EXPO  in Chicago  Sunday  March 27th.

The Wedding Expo, presented in partnership with the Rainbow Wedding Network will take place on Sunday, March 27 from 1 to 4pm at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza in Chicago.  The event is open to the general public, and tickets, required for admission, can be obtained at

“Same-sex couples across the State have waited for a long time for their relationships to have legal recognition.  Now that civil unions are law, we want to support these happy couples in planning their celebrations.” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois.

With the theme of “Same Love, Same Rights,” the 3rd annual LGBT Wedding Expo will provide a backdrop for couples to connect with LGBT-friendly business professionals who can assist blissful couples with planning their civil union weddings or other ceremonies. Representatives from Equality Illinois will be available to answer any questions attendees may have about civil unions in Illinois.  A diverse group of gay-friendly businesses will participate, including photographers, event coordinators, officiants, ceremony and reception venue representatives, cake decorators, entertainment representatives, floral designers, travel planners, and legal resource professionals.

Chicago Gay and Lesbian Wedding Expo
Sunday March 27, 2011       1:00pm-4:00pm
Holiday Inn Mart Plaza       350 West Mart Center Drive       Chicago, IL 60654

Michael Snell and Best Gay  is now  offering  Civil Union Photography for your special event!
Contact us  at  773-878-5323  if you want details about hiring us!