Crossing borders for same-sex marriage in a local state


Kendall Downing

MASSAC COUNTY, Ill. - Illinois Governor Pat Quinn plans to hold a large, ceremonial signing of the state's new same-sex marriage law later this month. Quinn said he wants to allow time to organize the signing so advocates can attend.

Tuesday, the Illinois House and Senate approved legislation legalizing same-sex marriages.

Now a local county clerk's office is already taking questions, from neighboring states.

Superman puts Metropolis, Illinois on the map. But the Massac County Clerk's Office could become a destination of its own for same-sex couples from border states looking to marry.

"I had one call this morning," said John Taylor, Massac County Clerk.

Taylor said he took the call from a Kentucky couple hoping to tie the knot in Illinois. He told them they couldn't do it just yet.

Marriage licenses in Massac County cost $20. Five dollars goes to the state of Illinois, the rest to the county's general fund.

Taylor said Massac County will have to change their marriage license document because it refers to the parties in gender specific terms.

"I was thrilled. I was relieved," said Rev. Sonja Ingebritsen.

Ingebritsen is pastor of Church of the Good Shepherd in Carbondale, Illinois.

Her congregation supports same-sex marriage, and she said she will perform them. She expects some resistance to the law but hopes in the months to come that will change.

"Churches who don't feel called to do that or don't feel like it fits into their faith understanding, they won't have to. And so I think a part of this, the next year will be helping churches and the community understand what that means," said Ingebritsen.

What it may mean is a busy next summer for the Massac County Clerk's Office, with just three employees.

"It could be," said Taylor.

When Governor Quinn signs the bill, same-sex couples could marry beginning June 1. But that date is on a Sunday when many clerks' offices are closed.

One senator filed a bill to move up the effective date.