At 8:45 a.m. today, Sofya Asfaw and Juliene Britz became the inaugural couple of the second year of civil unions in Illinois, according to Cook County Clerk David Orr. The lucky couple, who plan to be united June 2 in Chicago, were honored by the clerk's office with gifts donated by The Palmer House Hilton and the Goodman Theatre.
On June 1, the first anniversary of civil union licenses in Illinois, Sofya Asfaw, 31, and Juliene Britz, 40, were putting the finishing touches on their much-anticipated civil union ceremony while looking forward to the day they can marry. Asked if they would take advantage of that opportunity if Illinois law changes, Asfaw said, "We plan on it."
Between June 1, 2011the first day of civil unions in Illinoisand May 31, 2012, Cook County Clerk David Orr issued 2,504 civil union licenses. Of those, 1,242 were for couples in which both partners were female; 1,050 of the couples were male. The remaining 212 civil union licenses were issued to opposite sex couples.
"I'm pleased that my office can offer couples like Sofya and Juliene a civil union license, but it's only an interim solution," said Orr. "I am looking forward to the day when I can issue marriage licenses to all couples who wish to marry, regardless of gender or sexual orientation."
Asfaw, a surgeon, and Britz, an attorney, have planned a full weekend of celebratory events. At the Adler Planetarium, part of their one-of-a-kind ceremony in the Adler Sky Theater will include a merged projection of Asfaw and Britz's hometown skylines. Britz, a Park Ridgenative, will be represented by Chicago while Asfaw will be represented by Detroit.
While Asfaw and Britz first met on vacation in Miami nine years ago, they live here. "Within three or four months, I moved to Chicago," Asfaw said.
In recognition of one year of civil union licenses in Illinois, the Palmer House Hilton and Goodman Theatre are treating Asfaw and Britz to a weekend stay at the Palmer House and tickets to Crowns.
See attached photos: Sofya Asfaw is on the left in blue and white jacket. Juliene Britz is on the right in all white jacket. Timothy J. Dever, Director of Vital Records, is included in the second photo.