100 same sex couples have received civil union licenses in McLean County in the first year since the law was passed. Carl Olson and his partner Levi Sturgeon (pictured above) took out the100th license. That's less than ten percent of the total number of civil union and marriage licenses in the county in the same period. But, Sturgeon says with debate beginning over a gay marriage bill, it's clear the culture is shifting.
"The fact that we're able to do this now when there are many states that can't or you know there are so many states out there where you can still truly be fired for being gay. The climate really is changing. I want to see it go further, but I'm happy to see the changes it's making already."
"It's a big step for all people who now can have civil unions but to be number one hundred adds a little special touch to it. So it is extra meaningful for us."
Sturgeon says he looks forward to the day a gay marriage law will also pass in Illinois.
"It's not just about saying that you are married or just about saying yes we filed our federal taxes together. It's really truly being that equal citizen with everybody."
McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael says when the civil union law passed, many people in the community needed assurances they would be treated respectfully and that the law would be followed.
"And some of em cried. And I thought that was very telling of what they have been through, it chokes me up to think of it, of what they have had to endure."
She says that concern has diminished somewhat, though some still have fears.
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