BELLEVILLE, Ill. -- Sabra Blumhorst and Chelsea Baker exchanged wedding vows near their southern Illinois home last November, when Illinois didn't recognize same-sex marriages.
That all changes today.
June 1 marks the day counties must begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses under legislation signed into law late last year. Gay couples and advocates will be marking the date with blessing ceremonies and group weddings. Several county clerks' offices will offer Sunday hours to issue licenses to those who don't want to wait for Monday morning.
A February federal court ruling in Chicago declared Illinois' original ban unconstitutional, clearing the way for some same-sex couples to marry. Sixteen counties since have been issuing same-sex marriage licenses.