Witnessing: Civil unions in Illinois

Throughout our lives, we’ve used photography as a tool for bearing witness to events and places–some sad, like New Orleans post-Katrina, and some happy. This past Thursday we had another change to witness and capture an event that was not only happy, but historically significant in the state of Illinois.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 was the first day in Illinois that same-sex couples were allowed to file for civil union licenses. On the following morning, the City of Chicago hosted an event at the northwest corner of Millennium Park where 35 couples were joined in civil unions. Thanks to social media, I was able to connect with Dan and Steve, a Chicago duo better known as the Hearty Boys, who were among those couples making their relationship official in the eyes of the state, and they graciously permitted me to be their guest at the ceremony. When it was their turn, Dan, Steve and 5-year old son Nate took their place in front of a judge. Standing on a pile of rose petals and following a beautiful serenade by a guitar-playing friend, they exchanged promises and sealed the deal, surrounded by family, friends and lots of cameras–mine included!

Despite a few protesters standing along Michigan Ave, the entire event was filled with grace, beauty and love. There was a peacefulness that filled the park, along with bright colors, many smiling faces and tears of joy. I was so honored to be able to participate, and to capture images like this one that convey the importance and spirit of the day. Thank you again, Dan and Steve, for letting me be a part of this important event!

Posted on June 4, 2011 admin
Tagged celebration, Chicago, civil unions, family, history, love, Millennium Park