Kendall delays setting fee for new civil union licenses
By Steve Lord email@example.com May 22, 2011 3:20PM
Updated: September 29, 2011 12:43AM
YORKVILLE — Kendall County Clerk Debbie Gillette has no doubt there will be a line in her office June 1, the day civil unions become legal in Illinois.
“I believe there will be a rush,” she told the Kendall County Board this week.
But what she, the state’s attorney’s office and county board members are unsure of is what to do about it.
While the state Legislature has said civil unions are legal as of the end of the month, it has not established a fee structure for them. Absent that, State’s Attorney Eric Weis said he is not sure how to charge for the licenses.
“You don’t have the authority,” Weis told board members this week as they discussed establishing a civil union license fee. “It’s a screw-up in Springfield. They passed ( a law) allowing it to happen, but they established no fee structure.”
The Legislature is trying to do that now, but local officials are unsure if legislators will get it done in time. In the meantime, Weis suggested the board delay doing anything until they see what the state does.
When someone suggested the situation does not seem fair, Weis smiled and said, “fair and legal are two different things.”
“All I can tell you is what’s legal,” he said.
Some other counties in the area have decided to go ahead with a fee, despite no decision on the matter from the state. Officials in Kane, DeKalb, Grundy and LaSalle counties have all decided to charge the same amount they charge for marriage licenses.
In Kane County, that fee is $27, and the Kane County clerk’s office has the procedure for a civil union license already up on its website. People can order their civil union licenses online, just as they can marriage licenses.
Gillette said her tendency was to charge the same $35 for a civil union license as is levied for a marriage license. She said it would be done in accordance with the Marriage Act.
But upon Weis’ advice, Kendall board members decided to hold off until later in the month.