As Illinois prepares for same-sex marriage, the evidence shows the concept of civil unions did not take hold in all corners of the state. The Illinois Department of Public Health says in the 2½ years since the state formalized an array of benefits for such relationships, ten counties still have not taken an application for a civil union, including Mercer and Henderson says Jonna Cooley, executive director of the Phoenix Center – the LGBT community center in Springfield
Calhoun, Cumberland, Hamilton, Pope, Pulaski, Putnam, Scott and Stark are the eight other counties without a civil union application.
Cooley says from her experience growing up as a lesbian in the 1960s and 1970s in a small town in Western Illinois, it doesn’t have to be sexuality – anything that’s different is looked down upon. She says there are assuredly gays and lesbians in all 102 counties. They may have gone elsewhere to obtain a civil union license, so as not to appear in the local paper, she says, or they may simply have been waiting for same-sex marriage to be legal. That is to occur June 1, 2014, under a law the governor signed last week.