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Straight Couples Entering Civil Unions for Benefits, Solidarity with Same Sex Couples

By Chris Bentley in News on Dec 21, 2011 9:20PM

Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist

The Cook County Clerk’s office issued 1,856 civil union licenses in the first six months since the Illinois law that made them legal took effect in June. Most of those were for same-sex couples, but 138 heterosexual couples sought civil unions between June 1 and Nov. 30.

A County Clerk’s office survey found 26 percent of heterosexual couples surveyed cited “fairness” and “solidarity with the gay community” as their reason for opting for a civil union over marriage.

It’s hardly the first report of gay/straight solidarity in Illinois. In June, a group of 200 ministers vowed to bless same-sex unions, in defiance of church policy on the issue.

While the County Clerk's office highlighted the solidarity issue in their press release, the same survey indicated 59 percent of respondents said that needing medical benefits for themselves or their children as a reason for entering civil unions. 46 percent of those polled cited religious or personal convictions as a reason they filed for a civil union license.

Illinois couples who enter civil unions can file joint state income tax returns.

Aaroncynic contributed to this post.