It won't happen every month, but Equality Illinois – an LGBT advocacy organization – says about 5,000 same-sex couples in Illinois either applied for a new marriage license or applied to have a civil union converted to a marriage as of June 30. That does include couples who got married in counties which issued licenses before June 1. It does not include Illinois couples who got married elsewhere, rather than waiting for same-sex marriage to become legal in Illinois.
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“There are many couples who have been together for decades who have been waiting for this moment to arrive,” says Equality Illinois executive director Bernard Cherkasov, “and, finally, when the doors of the state of Illinois were opened (to same-sex marriage), these committed couples rushed out to get marriage licenses so they could get married.” Cherkasov says his organization has not heard – in the first month of legalized marriage for gay and lesbian couples – stories of churches being forced to perform ceremonies, or wedding-related vendors, such as bakers and florists, forced to sell goods to couples against their beliefs.