On the morning of Wed., Aug. 31 Cook County Clerk David Orr's office issued the 10,000th marriage license to a same-sex couple.
The men, who've been together 18 years, are Terry Beauchamp, 49, and Anthony Aranda, 50. Beauchamp is a manager at That's Our Bag in the Loop and Aranda is a flight attendant for United Airlines (25 years). They met at a dinner with mutual friends and bonded over the Cubs when their friends had a disagreement during dinner and have been a couple ever since. They currently reside in Edgewater.
On their second date, Beauchamp offered to give Aranda a ride home because of the chill but Aranda insisted on walking the half mile home so Beauchamp walked with him. After they parted company, Beauchamp took a cab back to his car and drove home. To this day, Beauchamp said he still wonders why he did that.
Beauchamp was born and raised in Western Springs, Illinois, and graduated from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. He's a lifelong Minnesota Vikings and Toronto Maple Leafs fan.
Aranda was born in Las Vegas and raised in Tempe, Arizona, and graduated from Arizona State University. He loves roller coasters, especially X-Flight and Goliath at Six Flags Great America.
They both enjoy going to the movies, watching TV, reading, traveling, playing Scrabble and Cards Against Humanity with their friends as well as walks along the lake.
The couple was unaware of the timing of being the 10,000th. They had decided to get their license Aug. 31 because it was their day off. The clerk's office celebrated the occasion with a rainbow cake from Goddess and The Baker and by waiving the fee for the couple.
"The wait is over," said Orr. "We're all excited about this day. The symbolism of the two of you being our 10,000th couple shows that people who've loved each other for years can make it official because of equal marriage. This is such a celebratory thing and it's important to honor everyone who made this happen over the years. I hope this event encourages people to believe that change can happen and victories can be won."
Aranda explained that he'll have to get used to saying fiancÃ©e instead of partner now. He said he's happy to be a part of history and joining the same-sex matrimony club, of which many of their friends belong.
Beauchamp said they are thrilled and excited for this turn of events. He noted they decided to make it official now because many of their friends and relatives are getting older and they wanted to be able to include them at their reception at Reza's in Andersonville. Beauchamp explained that they talked about getting married last year, however, there was no official proposal or engagement rings exchanged.
The couple said they don't see their lives changing after they get married except for calling each other husband instead of partner but only time will tell.
To mark the occasion the couple received donated gifts including a honeymoon package (hotel accommodations, fine dining and entertainment) from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, two roundtrip plane tickets from Southwest Airlines to use for their honeymoon, romantic dinners for two at Appellation Wine Bar & Restaurant located in Andersonville and Riva Restaurant on Navy Pier. The Navy Pier experience also includes a Shoreline Sightseeing tour and a VIP Ferris wheel ride. The couple also received flowers and balloons from Designs by Rosa, Inc., a fruit basket from Edible Arrangements and thank-you cards and stationery from Chicago-based designer La Familia Green.
This much-anticipated milestone came less than three years after the first same-sex marriage license was issued in Illinois, to Cook County residents Vernita Gray and Pat Ewert, who were married Nov. 27, 2013, a few months before Gray died, on March 19, 2014.
The state passed marriage equality in late 2013, and like Gray and Ewert's case, there were additional same-sex marriages deemed medical emergencies that were performed in the months leading up to the law taking effect across the state on June 1, 2014.
On Feb. 21, 2014, a U.S. district judge ruled that no same-sex couple in Cook County should have to wait until the law took effect to be issued a marriage license. Citing the Cook County district judge's ruling, Champaign County clerk officials began issuing licenses to same-sex couples shortly thereafter. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued an opinion on March 4, 2014 that opened the door for every county to begin issuing same-sex couple's marriage licenses ahead of the law officially taking effect. Many counties across the state began doing so that Spring.
Clerk Orr was relieved when marriage equality passed, after years of having to refuse the requests of couples for licenses. An ally of LGBT rights, Orr said he had no choice but to turn away requests prior to being forced to issue licenses by the courts, and later allowed to by the state legislature.
See report from Monday's press conference at the Cook County Clerk's office: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Orr-marriage-backers-anticipate-10000-same-sex-licenses-/56305.html .